Wednesday, April 13, 2005

i will not abuse the kindness of librarians...

Tonight's Simpsons was a rerun I'd seen a little too recently to enjoy again so soon, so I took the half hour traditionally reserved for my second, yellow family and headed down to the village center instead to return a library book before it accrued any more late fines. And since I was passing by two bakeries and a grocery store on the way, I promised myself I could pick up a little something sweet and chocolatey on the way back.

When I got to the library, there was only one person ahead of me in line. (At any other library, I'd just drop my book off in the returns pile. At this small and idiosyncratic one, though, people tend to pick up books from that pile and check them out before they've been marked "returned", so weeks later you end up in a protracted argument with the librarians over whether you returned them or not.)

The girl in front of me was around 13 or 14, and had apparently lost a paperback book she'd checked out. The librarian was suggesting that, rather than pay the lost-book fee, she could just bring in a paperback of her own to replace it - "something people your age would think was interesting," and they'd call it even.

How cool is that? The Roslindale library takes trade-ins!

I was so impressed with this idea, (and with the gorgeous twilight sky on the walk back home) that I completely forgot to buy the chocolate. Already, I was thinking of all the books I'd gladly sacrifice from my own collection in exchange for those hard-to-find volumes the library owns that I've coveted for years....

Ok, so that probably wouldn't work. Still, it was an awfully nice thing for that librarian to do. Maybe it will keep that girl coming back to the library for years to come. It sure makes me less begrudging of my own measly but inevitable late fees, knowing that they're going to support a neighborhood library that really acts like a good neighbor .


Blogger Amy said...

Yay! I'm a librarian, and I must say: we all hate charging kids library fines. I've seen deals struck involving volunteering, bring in a good report card, or (the best one) bringing the librarian some ice cream from the store across the street.

By the way, I just found your blog (via Universal Hub) and have much enjoyed reading through the archives. Thanks for the good words!

6:14 PM  

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