Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Got Library Card?

When purchasing something with a credit card, who would dream of trying to get out of the store without the card? Why do people think they can use the library without a library card? What is the point in issuing cards, if no one is required to use them?

Sulky Girl walks up to the Check Out Desk and places a stack of books on the counter. She stares at me behind bored and sulky eyes. She is not amused.

I wait for a moment out of general politeness. For whatever reason, most people don't remember that they actually are in a library and need a library card to check out. Generally, they just shove their books across the table and expect the computer to automatically register their unique presence.

"I need your library card," I say in my nicest librarian voice.

She is still not amused, and possibly even more bored.

"I don't have it."


"Do you have photo ID?"


Pause. I wait a little longer this time. At this point the person usually scrambles to find some form of miscellaneous identification for my perusal. There is no movement. She has obviously not read the script.

"Well, I need your card or ID to check you out."

It is obvious by this point she has neither, nor does she have any intention of having either. She continues to gaze at me oddly as if to say, "Just where am I? Is this some kind of Twilight Zone Library, where I need ID to check out?"

She left without any books . . . still rather puzzled.


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