Library Abusers

Our Christmas card for 2018.  I tried to go light on Photoshop this year.  The heavy lifting is in the fine print.


Although I was shocked by how many people only saw the $495 in library fines and not the $30,717 worth of books shuffled through the Otto household in 2018.  Let me tell you people, $495 is nothing.  Try circulating 1800 books a year, 150 books a month, 40 books a week – while your kids run books through the dryer, leave them in different states, and smaller members of your family EAT them.  And not get $500 in fines.  Of course, if my husband was in charge of books, there probably would be no fines.  Being the over scrupulous kind of person that he is.  He is also the sort of person who is not going to let you check out books, because he already knows your dark little heart.  It seems, the over scrupulous people simply don’t check out $30,717 worth of books in the first place.  But I’m all in.  Caution to the wind.  I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

We visit the library twice a week, returning books, and checking things off the list.  But stuff still falls through cracks.  Books still get left out in the rain, CDs still get stepped on, the one overdue book that you were going to the library to return, is the one that got left by the front door.  It’s the nature of the beast.  The good news?  Our library is amazing.  They know that if we really had to pay $10 a week in fines, we would no longer go to the library.  Books would only be checked out with military clearance and kept chained to tables.  But I want my kids to read.  I want them to read liberally and freely.  In the back of cars, in hammocks, while folding the laundry (the dryer incident), in trees, or while drinking hot chocolate.  And I want them to read as much as they want and check out as many books as they want.

Believe it or not, so does my library.


Our home branch automatically waives all of our fines.  In their eyes, they’re encouraging good behavior.  Please, take all of the books.  But since I also do around 90 holds a month, I have a host of other libraries to negotiate.  Some accept canned food, some will take a simple phone calls, others let me replace books with ones I’ve found used online.  My guess is that we really only pay $120 in fines a year.  Some of our libraries are moving towards an automatic renewal system, where there ARE NO FINES.  I’m not sure how these people do business, but I do know that if it were not for this gracious attitude our lives would not be near as rich as they are now.  We don’t have much, but we do have 150 library books stacked in the living room right now.  What more could you possibly need?




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