Why I’ll Never Check Out Another Library Book As Long As I Live
I’m a wee bit fired up. (translation=made as hell-o)
Right now, in this very moment.. I am absolutely heartbroken and livid, at the same time.
I am a longtime book lover and library user. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. Reading is a luxury and an indulgence for me. A treat, a reward.. even an escape of sorts, I love the pure letting-go as I clear my mind and live however monetarily, in the pages.
I’ll read just about anything and my appetite is voracious once I turn the first page, often reading a book in one sitting even if that means staying up until the wee hours. Closing it before I find out “what happens”, to me, is like turning off a movie before it’s over.
Several weeks ago, while in the market, I picked up The Maze Runner. This was a splurge, as I usually get all my books from the library. When you read them in one sitting, the habit gets very expensive. I started borrowing instead of buying many years ago. Out of curiosity, I tallied up the MSRP over the course of a calendar year once, and what I had checked out was almost the equivalent of our property tax payment.
Anyhow, after I read The Maze Runner, I put in a request for the next book in the series. My local branch didn’t have it but they put in a request to get it from a neighboring library. When I called to find out if it was in, I was told I had a damaged book fee, from a title I had checked out and returned months before.
— What? There must be some mistake. I know I didn’t damage a book that was in my care. And I’m thinking; “What kind of damage are we talking about and why wasn’t I notified?”
I read quietly, mostly in bed. I don’t eat or drink when I read. I don’t read in the tub. My books stay right here, in my home.
I don’t damage books.
I don’t dog-ear pages. I treat books with reverence.
I was told that usually they call or a letter is mailed immediately and they didn’t know what happened or why I wasn’t notified. (well then, I don’t know what happened to your book!) The thing is, this was weeks and weeks and weeks after I turned it in. How do I know what happened to it after that. I sure as hell(o) know that I did not tear up a book!
Well.. I could swear that up one side and down the other and it really doesn’t mater. As far as they are concerned, I’m guilty. I went in to discuss it today. In an calm, adult manner. While I stuck to this plan, it didn’t get me far, because the woman I dealt with had the warmth and charm of a stone. Her facial expression was as dead as her eyes. My good standing, and never having damaged a book, as well as not being notified and it being a substantial amount of time between me returning the book and this damage being reported, (after I investigated!) did me no good. My questions and comments were met with silence. I was basically having a conversation with myself.
Knowing that I had no recourse… how was I going to prove I did not do it? I couldn’t, and I’m not going to be getting into a battle with the damn library, over $27.00 and I also wanted to avoid being sent to collections over something so trivial, I told her I’d pay the fee. Oh by the way… cash or check only. No debit or credit cards accepted. On a side-note, could we possibly move into THIS century? Thankfully, I had just enough cash on me so that I wouldn’t have to go back. (returning would not be a good idea, because my patience and temper were just holding as it was)
I could feel the tears welling up and my voice crack when I slid her my library card and let her know I would no longer need it, as I’d never be checking out another book again. Not that she could give two figs… we are talking about stone-face lady here. How could I check out library materials after this? My sense of security in knowing I could borrow and return a book was completely shattered. Gone. Would my next returned book be called damaged? What if I got a book and it was “damaged” and I didn’t notice until I got it home? Would I need to check every single page for a mar, mark, stain or tear before I accepted it?
The whole experience is just ruined for me. An experience I loved. Getting a new book was something I really, really looked forward to. Reading was a gift I allowed myself. Something just for me.
.. and I am heartbroken.
This might sound silly to you, but I’m terribly upset and I feel like my character, and my responsible nature received a bad mark over this mater. It’s hard… I’m strong and I’m feisty, and there is a part of me that wants to fight! A lot.
I’m sensitive too though. I’ve touched on this before… but I fought my fight when I had cancer and I just simply do not want to battle over crap like this. Especially when I know there is really nothing that is going to be done. It’s a he-said she-said, and I’m only one person. As it is, this will bother me for a long time. I hope sharing this will help me let it go, by being vocal and venting.
Has anything like this happened to you and made you feel so… upset and vulnerable? I hope not!
Love & hugs, Shannon
PS: Oh, this is the damage.
( insert big finger wave here – that was sure as heck not done my ME. )
The last four pages are very slightly rippled from some liquid. Two of which, have no text on them!! For all I know, it was damaged IN the book depository after I put it in the slot to return it. Honestly, the book was more than likely like this, when I got it!! I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I was delightfully and oh so condescendingly told, “we don’t loan materials in this condition“.
Well yeah… ya do. Probably. lol. Right about know is when I wish I had a time machine. I’d love to know the story on this one.
PSS: *Note to self. DIY a time machine. Why haven’t I done that already anyhow?