On Libraries and Its Patrons

It’s no secret that I frequent my local library. There are some librarians there that I love, and some not so much.

Lately I’ve been utilizing the library catalog online, and requesting my books from there (unless the catalog specifically says my local branch has a book on its shelves, in which case I will go hunt it down). It makes my life a little simpler when I have multitudes of books sitting on my shelves. It also gives me a break, because some books have over a hundred holds on them, so that gives me time to read what’s on my shelves now.

But here’s my issue with this idea: I end up holding for a book for nearly six months, and I still haven’t gotten close to the bottom of the list.


Because people don’t return books on time.

I can’t tell you how much this irritates me. I go through so much trouble to make sure my books are brought back on time, especially if there’s holds on them. I have a white board dedicated to my library books and when they’re due back, as well as a section for me to write which books I’ve read and need to be returned.

Returning a book isn’t that hard, but when you have a book, and it’s due in March, and it’s already the end of April?

Your library card should be revoked permanently. That’s a clear sign you’re never going to return the book, and it’s essentially theft and thanks for wasting my time.

As of this writing, I’m holding for six books. One of them I’ve been holding on for almost 8 months, and I’m still number 31 out of 38. Still. This book, Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, initially had six copies in circulation when I first requested it. Now they have somewhere around 15, and the line isn’t moving any faster because people are keeping this book well past its due date.

J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover I’ve had in my possession before, but I was unable to finish it before it was due. Since there were other holds on it, I couldn’t renew it, so I requested it again. This is another of those novels that takes forever to make its rounds, mostly because people wait the full three weeks before they have to return them.

But let me talk about Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King. I’ve been dying to read this series for months, and logically I want to start at the beginning. There’s a total of one copy in circulation in my library district (that’s right–we have over 20 libraries in our district, and only one copy of this book), and of course, whoever had it most recently has not returned it, and it’s late.

I’m very quickly losing patience with my library system. It seems that those of us who have an excellent record with library books (I’ve never had a fine, ever, not even a nickel) have to put up with the irresponsible ilk over and over, with no reward system.

I still think people who are past due over a month should have their card revoked. Who’s to say they won’t pay their fine and then do the same thing with another book? It sounds like a great way to add to the library–if you were a dishonest person, that is.

If you’re reading this, I doubt that you’re one of those dishonest folk. But if you happen to have overdue library books on your shelves, please return them so others can enjoy them.


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