Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Trip to the Library

Yesterday we made a long-overdue visit to the library. Our last visit was the first Wednesday of August, whereupon we had added dozens of borrowed books to our already growing collection. I got these together before the start of school, piling them into a corner of my dining room, hoping to rid myself of some clutter before September. However, we were unable to get ourselves together for a visit before school started, and the pile proved to be too enormous for me alone to cart in with my baby.

So I kept renewing them all every Wednesday online. This online renewal system has been both a boon and a bane. Although it is helpful to be able to do so, I tend to lean on that ability too much. It is especially helpful when the library closes at 9 and you can still renew online until midnight. But then I inevitably miss the date to renew and all of a sudden I owe lots of spare change in overdue fines; plus then I HAVE to get there to return them because you can’t renew a book once it is overdue. Sometimes the book is lost by that time; then I have to turn the house upside down to find it.

In the olden days, I would have a printed receipt that I would post on my refrigerator. Every time I returned a book, I would check it off. I NEVER had an overdue book. There also was a reasonable limit to the number of books you could check out – say, 20 items per family. Then, with the dawn of online everything, the library started to allow an unlimited number of books and old movies.

Every time I went to the library, I would set a limit, telling my children, “three each”, or something like that. But they would have their three so quickly, and see something else they HAD to have. How could I say no to a child so enthusiastic about reading something? For the movies, the limit was more severe. “I think the library has a limit of 2 per card,” I tried once.

“Oh no, you can take out 10 DVDs per card, and as many VHSs as you like,” a librarian had to tell us.

“Thanks so much,” I replied, shooting darts at her with my eyes.

We are such a sight coming home. I do tell them they must carry whatever they pick out, and very often my seven-year-old son repeatedly tips his pile as we trip out to the parking lot. I must look like a real meanie, making my kids carry all those heavy books! But I just have my meager five or so – I will only have time for one, but my eyes are too big for my brain sometimes as well.

Early yesterday, I attempted to renew everything once again. However, “That’s Not My Dinosaur” came up with a red ON HOLD, which meant it could not be renewed. So it was time to go. Right after dinner, I ordered the children to pile up all the books in the trunk and get going.

We came back with a moderate sized pile this time. I limited myself to ONE book of rhymes that I can read to my toddler. The others followed suit. My son got five books on tigers for a report on the animal of his choice. The original “The Time Machine by H.G. Wells” and “Madeline” (not the animated series) were the only movies we took home.

We did no recreational reading today, but we did watch “Madeline” and count the number of Ludwig Bemelmans’ stories that they were able to fit into the production. It was a real hoot, with nothing I found objectionable. My toddler turned out the lights and pretended to look for Pepito.

“And that’s all there is; there isn’t anymore.”

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