I love libraries. And books. And reading. And big open library tables. And the cheezy themed decorations librarians feel the need to put out to get you into the mood…
Today, I made my first solo trip to the local library to return some books for my grandmother, get her a few books on CD, and pick up a few things for myself. Now that I have a better idea of what I’m teaching, it’s time to read… rather a lot of stuff. So, I go into the local library, return the books Grammy gave me and mosey over to the books on CD section. I picked out a few for her, and then proceeded to try to navigate my way through the small space and figure out where reference was (not marked) vs. where the nonfiction was. For the record, the cheezy summer theme for the ‘brairy is “Dig into Reading” – they’ve set up all sorts of construction stuff, put together construction-based prizes for the kids, and even have an ENORMOUS truck tire filled with sand as a little sandbox for the little ones to play in. It’s cute. My brain really wants to know if kids actually play in said “sandbox/tire” and how they’ll clean it up when it’s time for new cheezy decorations… But, it’s cute!
While on the hunt, I stumbled across two shelved of books about Idaho. Clearly, there is going to be a need for me to delete some local history from Georgia and insert some local Idaho stories and tie-ins. Know what would help with that? A section of books about Idaho. My history teacher brain screamed, “SCORE!” (Obviously, I didn’t make noise out loud – it’s a LIBRARY, people!!) I found Idaho history, Idaho Indian folklore, a book about the Idaho Chinese, and even one about famous recluses and hermits in Idaho. Gleefully, I picked out 5 of them and slipped them into my bag to check out after I got the book I was actually planning to get in the first place.
I found a pretty decent history section, and a biography of Teddy Roosevelt (awesome!), and proceeded to the counter so that I could check out before closing time…. Clearly, this is where I went wrong.
Previously, it had been explained to me that since Firth has no library, Blackfoot and Shelley libraries let you check out from them. Get one card, use at both places…. I already had a Shelley card, so I figured I was all set. Um, nope. So, the girl at the counter called over the Other Librarian (who my aunt would later refer to as “Oh, The Awful Old Battleaxe”) to help me get a card for the Blackfoot library.
During that process, I had the following conversation:
- Her: “and… on that line, I need a Contact Name, Last Name, and Phone Number of someone who doesn’t live with you.”
- Me: “Um, Wha?”
- Her: “Yes, the name of someone who doesn’t live with you. In case you put a book on hold or something, and we need to contact you.”
- Me: “Ma’am, I just moved here a few weeks ago. I haven’t started work yet, and literally don’t know anyone who I don’t live with who I’d be willing to make responsible for my library habits.”
- Her: “Well. *Harrumph* Where are you from?”
- Me: “Atlanta”
- Her: “Well, do you know anyone in Atlanta?”
- Me: ……….. “Um, yes ma’am.”
- Her: “Good, write down a name and phone number we can call. They don’t live with you.”
- Me: ………. “So, If you need to contact me, instead of calling my aunt or my grandparents, you want to call my dad in Atlanta?”
- Her: “Yep. How else will we be able to tell you your books are in?”
I decided that my best course of action was to just go with it. (Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry if a crabby librarian from Idaho calls you. I had no choice.) After that, I had to explain that I wasn’t going to be giving her a work number, because if she called me at work, the front office would have to interrupt my class, and I couldn’t do anything about it anyways, and PLEASE just call my cell phone. I promise I’m a good person!!!!
Then, it was time to check out my books! Glory! Joy! Happiness! BOOKS!!!
Or, so I thought.
The checking out of the books on CD went fine. But, then she got to the stack of books I had picked out. She started grumbling and set aside ALL the awesome Idaho books I’d chosen. And then shot me A Look when she saw my awesome TR biography and my Garfield assassination book. Raising her eyes to mine, she put on her Judgmental Librarian Look full force and proceeded to inform me that the books I’d chosen were from THE IDAHO SECTION, and could most definitely not be checked out.
She gave me that You Must Be New Around Here look. I blinked a few times and tried to confirm that even though they weren’t reference, and weren’t in the reference section, and had checkout bar codes and inner pockets like all the other books….. I couldn’t have them. “Oh, but that’s The Idaho Section.” she said, nodding reverently. “Those books you can only read here. People want to know about Idaho, and we can’t just let those books walk off.”
You know, because at a library, the whole point is clearly NOT to let people walk off with books and then bring them back when they’re finished reading. ARGH!!!
I tried to tell her that I’m a history teacher. And that I really needed some decent Idaho history to put into my lectures and make them exciting and relevant for my new students…. She smiled for the first time in the whole conversation, agreed that was a great idea, and then told me I should pick out a chair and spend a few weeks in her library reading said books.
So, I left. With CDs for Grammy, and two books for me. And another new library card that isn’t nearly as fun looking as the Shelley one. I’m left to assume that She designed it and didn’t want it to look like there might be something interesting or fun at the ‘brairy.
Also, I have to wonder if she gets a commission based on how many people sit in her library and read.
Also, what is the true history of Idaho that it’s on such a serious lockdown… Whatever will I discover in The Idaho Section?!?