Thursday, October 07, 2010
the library card blues
Despite owning enough children's books to open our own lending library (this isn't even all of them), the kids and I went down to the local library on Monday to get some fresh things to read, complete with our two items showing proof of residency. The city where we moved requires a hefty deposit paid in person just to turn on the water, so if my stepfather hadn't gone downtown for us, we would have shown up at the new house at 1am with no water. Apparently all the city services are so used to being abused and taken advantage of that they don't know how to react to decent folks who don't skip town owing hundreds of dollars.
In the past 3 years we have lived in 4 states: North Carolina, Maryland, Maine, and back to Virginia and have encountered the library policies in several towns in those localities. The Montgomery County, Maryland library system gave me grief for wanting to know the titles my children had out so we could scour the house and return them, because I was violating Will and Mary's "privacy rights". We resolved the situation by getting a household card with a 100 book limit, which is about how many books a family of 8 can carry out the door. The three libraries we frequent in Maine are very generous with their checkouts, I don't think any had a limit as long as you didn't owe any fines. But the library here has a 30 book limit per card, which is not very many when you are counting up picture books or short chapter paperback series, such as The Boxcar Children. So, after only 4 days we were back at the branch library to renew our stash only to find half way through checking out out that we hit the limit. I said, "Well, we will just get Charlie a card," but found out that we need to show all the proof of residency yet again (sorry, I don't store the power and gas bills in my purse). I'm of a mind to get every child their own card the next time we go in so our household limit will be 240 books just to irritate the powers that be at the library.
Homeschoolers as a general rule are more responsible with materials than the average Joe, check out more books, and return them more promptly. I will also write a letter to the library board asking for a large family/homeschool option to check out more than a skimpy 30 book stack limit currently in place.