Library Card Blues

If I need to find B, she is usually sitting on the floor, immersed in her book.

She is the type of child who cannot walk past a book without sitting down to read it. Our living room, her bedroom floor, her bed…all covered in books that she is in various stages of reading.

I was the same way as a child, and the only reason this description does not continue to apply to me is that I made myself put down the book to do silly things like vacuuming and making dinner and reading a book to C, who prefers to be read to at age 3. I see her heading down the same path,  as she will sit and look at books for an hour, and her bed is just as covered with them as her sister’s. If I had my way, I would sit on the couch and read beside them all day. Sometimes I do.

The librarians at our main library know us well, and rarely give us issues with the amount of books we take home. They know we will be back in a week to exchange them for more. We have been frequenting the smaller library in our town for convenience sake the past few weeks, and they are not as familiar with our habits. We were preparing for our weekly trip, and I checked our library account to see the list of the books we had checked out, in order to round them up and turn them in. I entered B’s library card number.

USER BARRED. 

I chuckled to myself at the thought. She was 13 books over her 20 book limit, and had been barred for the second time at six years old. Not many children I know have that distinction.

I knew that she would not find this as amusing as I did, and it would most likely cause a serious issue if I did not resolve this before our next library trip. Later in the day, I turned in most of our books and picked up some new ones while she was at gymnastics, and spoke with the staff about her account. They set her card free again and all was well.

In the evening, as she sat among her new pile of reading material, I began to tell her the story. In my perception, it was a humorous tale, a testament to her extraordinary reading powers and a badge of honor to wear proudly. “I was banned by the library at age six for reading too much“, she could someday say with pride.

Photo credit: UTS Library, NSW

Unfortunately, I only got to about sentence three of the story, the one in which I said that she was barred from using her library card, and she collapsed in a hysterical heap of tears and anguish.

“No, no, no, sweetie! Please don’t cry! There is more to the story! It’s all fixed – your card is fine. You can check out all the books you want! You can use my card, and C’s card too, and all together that’s 60 books that you can take home! It’s okay, all fixed, please don’t cry!!”

Ten messy, tearful minutes later, she had calmed down, gathered all the books she could balance in her small arms, held them protectively to her chest and went to her room. She did not find me or my story charming, and grudgingly accepted my apologies as she walked away.

Lesson learned. Tell the end of the story first, even if it ruins the suspense, and never, ever get between that girl and her library card.

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