Just doing a part to help out at the library

After a couple of months of not going to the library, we finally made it there today. And it was a good thing because there were a couple of books that J. and I had taken to hiding because we just couldn't face reading them one. more. time. Yes, it was that bad.

In general, it was a relatively calm and easy trip. The new girls have gone enough times that they know the drill and I don't need to micromanage their book selections. R., who has become best buddies with H., has even learned exactly where in the library the origami books are and can find the section and pick out new origami books on her own. Thus, we chose our books, put them in bags to cart to the check-out, and began the process of heading home.

This is not as simple as it sounds. First, we need to fit all the books in the bags we brought, which, though I think I'm bringing enough bags, is always a close thing and sometimes people need to carry the books which don't fit. Then we shuffle towards the check-out desk while trying to keep smaller people moving with us. Herding cats is hard enough without being encumbered by 100 books. Next, the small people need to be settled in a corner, under the supervision of the bigger child whose turn it is not to help at the desk. Deciding whose turn it is to help at the desk provides its own bit of drama as people negotiate and announce who did it last. It is not a coveted job. After all this, we can begin to check out our books.

Most of the circulation workers know us and we often have the same clerk, who knows our routine, so the process is pretty speedy. We got someone new this time. It turns out it was a trainee and we were the ultimate patron. He got a lot of practice with all sorts of different issues that come up when checking out books. We were kind of a one-stop training session of our very own. I was happy to help, but it did take a little bit longer than usual.

After we left, having thus checked-out and reloaded our books and shuffled our way along to the van, D. says to me, "You know how you sent me upstairs to check out those mysteries?"
"Yeah," I answered, not having given it any thought because I saw that he had the entire series in his bag.
"Well, I asked one librarian to help me find them, and she looked at me and said I wasn't allowed to check out adult books because I was a child. I didn't want to argue, so I stepped over to the other librarian who hadn't heard our conversation and asked her where they were because my I was supposed to check them out for my mom," he told me.

Well, points for D. for working the system, but....


I did send him upstairs to the adult books because he was in need of a new mystery series and has reached a reading level where juvenile fiction just doesn't cut it sometimes. I stood for a moment racking my brains as to what mystery series I recently read that could be considered appropriate for a not-quite-12-year old. Not that I'm reading particularly lurid or graphic novels and mysteries, but still, 12 is pretty young for certain themes. I decided he could probably handle and enjoy the Vish Puri series. I kind of wish he had pushed back a little, or come and got me, or something.

I would think a librarian would be thrilled at a 12 year old boy who is interested in reading adult books. (Particularly since the genre of young adult fiction is too often a vast wasteland of poor writing... not that I have an opinion or anything.) I have always encouraged my young adult readers to jump YA books and head directly to adult books. The themes are hardly different, but the writing is often far better. Plus, all the classics are housed in the adult fiction section and a librarian was telling a young person they couldn't check them out? I'm just baffled. And a little annoyed.

Finally, one of the picture books we checked out is a sequel to one we already had. The Day the Crayons Quit has been a favorite here for quite some time, so everyone was very excited to discover The Day the Crayons Came Home. I think it is very funny. I'm not sure the story hangs together quite as nicely as in the first, but there are some extremely amusing bits. A word of warning, though, if you are checking out the second. It does have a wee bit of scatological humor in it. Not much, but some. So if that is something you don't do as a rule, be forewarned. I personally think it is worth it to read about the adventures of Neon Red Crayon and Esteban.... the Magnificent (the crayon formally known as Pea Green.)


Kareninaz said…
I hope that you will be talking to one of the librarians about the issue with D. When I was his age I was reading adult books. There's no reason he can't read adult books. Good luck!
Rusulica said…
I enjoy your posts so much. I am not religious nor I have a family or house of my own, and I live across the globe, but I share so much of the values you express on your blog and enjoy reading about a life of a big, creative family, written in such a pleasing way, without "our way is better than anyone else's" (though I agree with you on almost every issue). I also like to read paper books and I find it quite amusing (and very pleasing) that your love of reading is clearly seen in your writing style, word choice, etc :). I'm having a rough time and thought it would be nice to actually say to someone I do not know personally, but think she is doing a good job (with the blog, and with raising awesome persons), that I appreciate her effort. I wish you all the best :)
c smith said…
My 12 yr old has recently started to read more adult books and has been reading YA for a while, I always let her browse and choose her own books. I don't remember having any supervision in choosing books when I was a kid and I was a voracious reader who often walked to the library every day during the summer. I loved it, it was my own amazing little world.
Our library has added a couple of self-check kiosks. I sit our book basket beside the kiosk nearest the children's room and everyone checks out their own books as they choose them. I tell them ahead of time how many they're allowed and they just lay the books, up to 6 at a time, on the scanner, scan our card that I keep clipped to a lanyard on our basket and then push the green checkout button. The machine prints out a receipt too, which allows me to keep up with what needs to be returned. It's awesome!
Kelly said…
My oldest son was the bad combination of a precocious reader and being the size of a child two years younger. Our library kept the Redwall books in the Teen section. He was kicked out by a librarian once. I didn't mind her checking to make sure he had parental permission, but she actually started arguing with me about it, saying there were books in that section not appropriate for him! Why not put them in juvenile where they belong, then? Another time, the librarian at the main desk (no self-check outs allowed) refused to check out his books. She said he had too many books, they were too long for him, and she wasn't going to let him check out books he clearly wasn't going to be able to read when other people could be checking them out to actually read.

It was such a breath of fresh air when we moved away from that tiny library in the Bible Belt to a large city with one of the best libraries in the country. We haven't had a single issue since!
thecurryseven said…

Thank you so much for your comment. It made my day! I'm so glad you enjoy reading my blog, even though on the surface we wouldn't seem to have much in common. I hope life soon gets past this rough spot for you. I know you said you aren't religious, but I hope you don't mind if I keep you in my prayers.


And everyone else-- I love reading your comments as well and about your experiences with books and libraries! Thank you.

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