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Library dues are due: Pay up

June 29th, 2005

Oh honey, does this one ever need Wacky Mommy’s help!

This Oregonian columnist owes almost $150 in late fees to the library and, well, at least she’s not *stealing* from the library…

Dear Ms. Mitchell,

You need Wacky Mommy’s help. Now first, here’s a tsk-tsk-tsk for not paying these library overdue/lost book fees all along. Cuz $150 is a lot harder to come up with than, say, 14 bucks! Yes, you’re right. It’s better to not be a thief — but being a slacker is nothing to brag on. Let’s just say that thieves and slackers are all making some “bad life choices.”

But nevertheless, you need my help and assistance. Don’t cark. (ie — worry. It’s from my Word-A-Day calendar.) Just a few short years ago, I, Wacky Mommy, couldn’t find my misplaced library books, either. Or my library card. And for some reason, I didn’t want to put stuff on reserve cuz I thought I was wasting valuable library resources with my desire to re-read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” or check out a copy of “Rosemary’s Baby” and watch it for the 58th time. (I love the dream sequence with “Jackie Kennedy” on the boat, and the la-la-la creepy music).

But I got over it, and you should, too. How else are you going to check out Art Tatum’s Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces? Or “The Language of Baklava”? Or the third season of “Six Feet Under”? You need the library, friend, and the library needs you. So here’s your list:

1) You (or the kids) lost the books (videos, tapes, magazines, whatever the items were). Deal with it. Saying it was the library’s mistake is as bad as saying the post office lost your mail. Yeah, it happens once in awhile — but mostly it’s your own fault.

2) Pay the fines, a little at a time or a lot.

3) Don’t get NetFlix and nyah-nyah at the library. If you can afford 20 bucks a month for NetFlix (or $50 or whatever ungodly sum it is now for cable) YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY YOUR MEASLY OVERDUE FEES. The library is always free, if you work it right.

4) Some kids aren’t mature enough to be in charge of their library check-outs. Mine aren’t, and it sounds like yours aren’t, either. My husband, responsible guy though he is, doesn’t know what’s checked out on his card. But I do. Don’t let them take books out of the house until they can prove themselves responsible. Don’t let them loan books to friends, or take movies to friends’ houses to watch, etc. My sis, mom and I loan stuff back and forth all the time — we tape either the library check-out slip or a post-it with the due date on it on the cover of the item. Then we call and say, “I renewed that Fannie Flagg book — you can keep it until July 7th now,” etc.

5) Get cards for everyone in the house, but try to use only yours. Keep one card free in case of, well, you know.

6) You can reserve up to 15 items per card. Take advantage of this service.

7) Keep a large canvas bag near the front door and remember to put items that are due — or will soon be due — in the bag.

8) You probably already know this, but a lot of people don’t. YOU DON’T HAVE TO RETURN ITEMS TO THE SAME BRANCH FROM WHICH THEY WERE CHECKED OUT. Wow, that’s cool, eh? It’s not like a video store.

9) Your reserves can only be picked up from the branch you were having them sent to, though. Sorry.

10) If you’re going on vacation, put your holds on “inactive.” If you don’t know how to do this, get a librarian to show you. (They can help you at check-out.)

11) Learn how to get logged on at home, and teach the kids (if they’re old enough) how to do this, too. Get in the habit of renewing your items every few days — this way you won’t forget what’s due (or soon to be).

12) Now, about snarky librarians. Surprise: They’re snarky even to those of us who don’t owe money. They have stressful, underpaid, hectic jobs. They have to deal with passed out drunks, pregnant women looking for info on childbirth, unattended kids, guys looking for porn sites, grouchy little old ladies looking for just the right cookbook — and moms who don’t pay their late fees! So cut them some slack, would you, slacker? You know what I got yelled at for once? Not picking up my movie that was on hold. The conversation went like this:

Snarky Librarian: “So, I guess you didn’t want ‘Snake Eyes’?”

Me, confused: “Oh! ‘Snake Eyes’ came in?”

SL: “Yes. And was sent back. Because you never picked it up.”

Me: “Sorry, we were on vacation.”

SL: “Well, we called you.”

Me: “Well, I didn’t get the message ’til I got home, cuz we were on vacation!”


Me, confused: “You can make your holds inactive? How?”

SL, steam pouring out of ears: “AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!”

See? Bye for now, please e or post if you have questions.

WM loves you


  1. Himself says

    Oh, where to begin…

    Renee, what is your basis for connecting lost items to shortened hours? Does the library really increase its capital budget at the expense of its operating budget to cover lost materials? I would like to see a citation for this assertion. It sounds dubious at best.

    For the love of God, Renee! Pay your stinkin’ fines and quit whining. If the library has a theft problem, it’s got nothing to do with you having a shitty attitude about taking care of your own responsibilites. These are two completely unrelated issues.

    Thanks, Wacky Mommy, for the library primer.

    June 29th, 2005 | #

  2. zipdodah says

    I seem to recall this is the same woman that was busted for leaving her children unattended at the library….
    RESPONSIBILITY: 1. condition, quality, fact, or instance of being responsible; obligation, accountability, dependability, etc. 2. a thing or person for whom one is responsible

    June 29th, 2005 | #

  3. Wacky Mommy says

    You’re welcome. On a related note, the kids and I saw a guy sleeping in the bushes outside our library the other day. It was a hot day. He was very relaxed and appeared happy. One shoe off, one shoe one (“…diddle diddle dumpling, my son John…”)

    Wacky Girl: “Hey! That guy’s asleep there!”

    WM: “Shhhh! Let’s don’t wake him up!”

    June 29th, 2005 | #

  4. Wacky Mommy says

    Hey, our comments both posted at once! I was saying “you’re welcome” to Himself. But to respond to you, yes, this is the same woman. I think she should have mentioned this little bit of her history with the library in today’s column, no? So…

    13) Librarians are not there to babysit your young’uns.

    June 29th, 2005 | #

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