Monday, November 16, 2009

Library Woes

Last night I was checking my library account online- something I do on a pretty regular basis since we usually have about 25 items checked out at a time (we're homeschoolers after all) and the late fees can add up in a hurry. I am not usually surprised to see a few 20 cent charges here and there, but I was more than a little shocked to see that I have a new $15 fine for a magazine. That's right- I said $15- for a magazine! Back in September, I am 99.9% sure I returned the magazine in question into the drive up library return drop box. When it first started showing up as late, I emailed the library right away, pleading my innocence. I also stopped by and spoke to a librarian who filled out a claims check on it, and said someone would scour the library to look for the missing magazine. I wondered what would happen if it didn't turn up. I mean, it's a pretty big library, and one little old back issue of National Geographic Kids Magazine could easily get lost or even tossed among all that paper. The librarian wasn't sure the procedure for a lost magazine. It's not like it's a big new hardbound book or something- she said so herself.

Well, I didn't hear about it for over a month, so naturally, I was hoping the problem just went away. Then, out of the blue, I see this whopping fine- $5 for the lost material, and $10 for the “processing fee.” What the heck? I guess that $10 processing fee is for the poor sucker who had to run around unsuccessfully looking for a lost magazine in a multi story building full of paper. But, isn't that what the volunteers are there for? Now, I love my library. We use it all the time; it loans our family a huge portion of our homeschool materials, and I am happy to pay my couple of bucks now and again, but I just find this just a tad bit excessive. They want me to pay $15 for one back issue of a kid's magazine? Give me a break. You can get a 1 year subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine for $15, which only makes this more frustrating. I like to support having a nice community service like the library, but this just annoys me.

So, I emailed my case again. Apparently, I have to call “the supervisor” on Tuesday. Maybe I should just pay the $15 and get it over with. After all, my family borrows books, videos, and obviously magazines, all year for free. I probably will end up paying it in the end, but in this case, it's the principle. I have to fight injustice and oppression when I see it. I can't just let a government agency get away with bullying and wrongfully over charging. So, Tuesday I'll call “the supervisor” and plead my case. Wednesday, I'll probably be dropping a couple of late books by the library, along with some money to pay for the fines and our $15 lost magazine. I need to get myself off the bad patron list, or they won't let me check anything else out, or even renew what I have now. Oh well, at least it's all for a good cause.