Thursday, November 05, 2009

The best card to have

Every since we moved to NWA, 5.5 years ago, I have had a love/hate relationship with our library. Actually it has always teetered on the edge of hate (which is a word that we don’t use)…very little love.

Being the reader that I am, it was one of the first locations I sought out after we moved. I was so excited to get my library card and browse the books.

I went up to the information desk to inquire about getting a FREE membership.

(That’s one of my favorite aspects of a library...all those books at your fingertips and you can have them for two weeks FOR FREE.)

The information lady/librarian asked to see my identification to start the process.

Hmmmm, I see you don’t live in our city. It will cost you $11.00 to purchase a membership”, said my friendly librarian.

“Excuse me?!? I live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to your “city”. We share a Chamber of Commerce AND there is no library in the town that I live in.”

“I know, isn’t that just the craziest? You live mere seconds from our CITY and yes, we in fact, do share a Chamber of Commerce. However, since your address is not actually in the same place as the library, you are required to pay $11.00 to check out books.”

I was FURIOUS (overstatement)!

I actually was so upset that I did not even get a library card that day.

I know. I showed them.

Wouldn’t it have been fantastic if I had actually marched myself down to the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and complained. Asked (demanded!) to speak to the mayor and have him explain this to me. Insisted that the CITY pay for my membership?

That would be a great story...if it had happened.

I think I went home and complained about it to Matthew (who really didn’t even understand why I wanted a library card in the first place).

Obviously I will never be the ring-leader for a picket line.

I eventually got tired of PAYING for books and went back to the CITY library and purchased a membership (even typing that sentence makes me a little ill).

Since that day I have cringed a little each time we check out books.

(Oh, and I had to renew that membership each year.)


After I had children, I ventured into the land of story time.

I’ll be honest-it was painful for me to sit and watch at toddler story time. The story time lady read picture books that 6th graders would have had a hard time sitting through. The books were a bit dull. And long. And boring.

And her expressions weren’t much livelier than Mr. Knit Knots. (If you don’t have a 2 to 6 year old, you have NO IDEA who that is. He’s a snooze.)

BUT, Nora/Elyn loved going to the library. Not for story time though.

To get MOVIES.

(You can tell we are doing a great job of raising them as readers.)

SERIOUSLY, I read like a thousand books a day to these kids and go on and on about how great reading is. And all they care about at the library is the DVD section (which is dwarfed by the VHS section. It’s almost’s time to convert those puppies over).

We still went though. We sat through story time, I FORCED them to choose some books to take home and then we made our way over to the media section for our DVD choice.

(And heaven help you if you return the DVD late. You will need to take out a small loan to repay that late fee if, let’s say, you totally forget about the DVD and accidentally leave it in your portable DVD player and then put the player back up in your closet and, two weeks later, you are trying to check out some books and the lady tells you that your DVD is two weeks late and that will be $20 in fines. You could have bought the DVD for cheaper. Totally hypothetical.)

THEN I started wanting to reserve books.

Guess what? It cost FIFTY CENTS to reserve a book.


We are going to have to start putting a “library” section in our budget with all the money that are getting from the Henderson’s.

(It’s sound like a very hard life, doesn’t it?)

Fast forward (thank goodness!) to yesterday.

I decided to try a new library. It’s a smidge closer to our house BUT not a part of our Chamber of Commerce (like that even matters).

I took the girls for the story time and OH MY GOODNESS-it was GREAT!

The lady had EXPRESSION in her voice, she had puppets, she didn’t read EVERY SINGLE word on the page when she noticed the kids getting restless, she gave the kids nametags so she could call them by name and she had songs/dancing!

After story time was over, she had pre-selected books that were based on the theme of the day that the kids could check out.

Her craft was CUTE (although a little developmentally inappropriate, but I DIDN’T CARE!).

The Children’s Section was HUGE and so was the grown-up section!

(And this one had DVD’s Nora/Elyn were hooked.)

I went to the info desk to ask how much it would cost to get a “free” membership.

I figured I might as well give my money to a library that seemed good.

The man asked me if I lived in that town.


Do you work here?


Do you pay any of your utilities here?

YES!!!!!!!!!! Ding ding ding ding!

I got a FREE card (and he didn’t even require a bill of said utility)!

I could have hugged him on the spot!

Do you see how he worked with me? He WANTED to give me a free card. He knew that I needed that.

Then I asked how much it cost to reserve books.

ZERO DOLLARS! The way it should be.

I am thrilled with my early Christmas present…a library card.

Correction: a FREE library card.

AND I already have two books to read:

I had these on reserve at the “city” library FOR EVER.

I can’t wait to get started!

Happy reading to you...and if you don’t have a library card-GO GET ONE!


abc said...

So glad you've found a good library situation, sheesh I can't believe what all you've dealt with! Adam is in NWA right now for interviews. If we end up there you'll have to give me detailed library scoop. The Help is great- enjoy!

Oh, and I meant to comment on the last post. I'm always glad to see that you've got a new post on my google reader. And as far as the 2 year old business just remember my fave mantra "this too shall pass".

Kristen OQ said...

That sounds EXACTLY like the library experience I had when we moved to Keller. I have a Keller mailing address, Keller zip code, pay my school taxes to Keller ISD (where my kids go to school) and because I am technically in Ft. Worth city...yep, no library card. Not even with me paying! I had to take myself to a Ft. Worth Library to get my card (free) and Keller will "allow me" to use their library with my other card. It is so funny to me that they are snotty about their library and it isn't good AT ALL. We always go to a Ft. Worth one much better, although a little further away!

You are going to LOVE LOVE 'The Help' Please let me know once you finish it!

Kristen OQ said...

And that was entirely way too long of a comment I just left about a silly library card! Guess the wound is still fresh and it has been 2 years! ;)

Marty Rhea Hill said...

So funny, you are! Glad you got it free.

Kim said...

You are such a talented writer, Dallas. I love that I get to read your blog-for free! :)

Holly Aytes said...

OMG, I can't believe you have to pay for a membership! I would be in so much trouble as we are always at the library. And I reserve books every week so I am thrilled that doesn't cost. I didn't know any library made you pay to reserve books. We have never tried story time before as it has always been on days my kids were in MDO or at an bad time. BTW, I just finished "The Help" and it was awesome! I couldn't put it down. Hope you enjoy it (and your early christmas present) :)

Amy said...

Library #1 has to be breaking the law. I particularly loved your description of snory story time. Been there!

~aj~ said...

I'm curious to know what library you ended up at.

Springdale doesn't have a lot going for it, but their library is FANTASTIC...the park next door doesn't hurt either.

Deborah said...

We haven't found a library yet, but passed by one the other day. I said, "Look at that huge library! Wouldn't that be fun to go get a library card when we buy a house?"

Without missing a beat, Caleb said, "OOOOH, YEAH! And we can see what movies they have!"

Ashley said...

That post made me SO SAD about moving! I am in love with the Frisco Library and it's the only library I have ever dealt with. Free cards, no late fees whatsoever, and tons of kid and adult DVD's..even Alias, The Office and Lost seasons! Baby story time with baby signs and kindermusic songs/instruments. I tried to tell myself they were all that way now. Hopefully I will find one I like in Tulsa :)

Brad, Amy & Sadie said...

Both are great books. You will enjoy them.

And thank you for reminding me just how much I love our CALS (Central Arkansas Library System). It kinda rocks!

I understand your frustration (and elation) as a fellow avid reader!

Sara said...

I gripe about Searcy's library all the time!!! I was so spoiled in Knoxville to do everything on-line. Their storytime is actually pretty decent and Laura's favorite aspect of the library is also the VHS section. No DVD's for this small town!!

Allison G. said...

That was such a funny post! I can't believe that you had to pay $.50 to reserve a book! Crazy! Glad you have a better solution now. Happy reading!

Tiffany Norris said...

Hi Dallas, I found your blog through several mutual blog friends and just had to comment on this post!
I'm a librarian, so it's especially upsetting to hear that some are not "representing" the way they should be! Glad you found a better one--where everything is free and friendly, the way God intended it. ;)
Meanwhile, I've heard great things about The Help; glad to get another recommendation!

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