Friday, June 18, 2010

Library Vandalism/Frustration

One of our local libraries has been vandalized--by condiments. Since last April, someone has been pouring various condiments into the book drop, causing over $1500 in damage. This week, the police caught a woman dropping an open jar of mayo into the book drop. She was arrested and charged with malicious injury to property and carrying a concealed weapon. I was skimming the article online and at first I thought the concealed weapon charge was a strange one (for a jar of mayo), but a more careful read of the article revealed that she had a loaded gun under the driver's seat of her car.

I suspect that this woman may not be mentally well. But either way, what is her problem with the library? Has she been banned from the premises and this is her creative, angry response? Did her library fines get too high? Was the library the scene of her husband's torrid affair? What horrible thing did the library do that provoked this response? There was no indication of her reasoning in the article.

I have frustrations with the library sometimes. I pretend that paying fines is just part of the library experience, but I don't really want to pay fines. Once, the library accused me of losing the directions to a video game, but they hadn't been in the case when I picked the game out at the library. I was a bit frustrated when I called to discuss the charge, but the librarian believed me and dropped the fine. I had to pay to replace War and Peace because my toddler colored on it. I had been planning to buy it, and the coloring doesn't bother me.

My biggest issue with the library right now is the limit on how many books I can put on hold. Last year, the libraries in our area decided that 10 books per person was just too many holds. They now limit the number of holds per person to 5. I realize that for most people this might be plenty. But I do almost all of my library "shopping" online, using holds.

When you take four children into the library for a visit, you do not browse the stacks. You just hope that you can make it through without any screaming, crying, or stomping. And you hope the kids will behave too. So a trip to the library mostly involves me corralling the younger two and encouraging the older two to make use of the information desk for help. I usually just pick up my books from the hold shelf. When the library dropped the limit to 5 books on hold, I was unhappy. Keep in mind that sometimes I have the 100+ spot when I put a book on hold. It can take months to get some books.

So, my oldest children got their own library cards. I use their queues for my own book holds. That's right. I bent the rules. So far, the library hasn't asked why an eight year old is putting Diana Gabaldon and John Scalzi books on hold. My children do get to put books on hold on their accounts, but they have to speak up quickly because I fill the spots up fast.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if I let my child "accidentally" color on the library's limited first edition signed Scalzi book, they will make me buy it, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

    I think our local library could actually make money selling books from their shelves then re-purchasing them.