Skipping the Fine

You know Harvey is fond of taking his kittens to the library every so often.  Once in a while, when I get a day off from my day job (the one from which I draw my salary) and Mrs. Harvey needs the babes out of her hair (she works from home) I take Sonny Boy and Baby Girl to go nuts in the library pick out some books in a calm and reasoned manner.

Over the past two years since I started taking them, we’ve probably gone on average once every two months.  When we started it was a complete free-for-all where I swore I’d never bring them back and that I would never let them read.  More recently, they have learned to follow the rules — “No fighting, Be quiet in the library, Don’t pull books off the shelf”.  They look forward to our library visits.  They know that if they’re really good Daddy will drop his “five books a piece” limit and let them actually go nuts.  And in fairness they’ve really got it down to a science.

Case in point?  Take a gander at some of their most recent selection.

It was a group effort this week.  We've got books about NJ (Daddy's home state), President Reagan, Valentine's Day, and Caillou (whom I cannot stand).

It was a group effort this week. We’ve got books about NJ (Daddy’s home state), President Reagan, Valentine’s Day, and Caillou (whom I cannot stand).

But one of the books that stands out more than any of the others is one that almost didn’t make it — either into the mix or back out of it.  You see, my wonderful young son, back at our pre-Thanksgiving library visit, decided to slip a book into the basket that Daddy was so patiently carrying around.  You like that?  This library provides patrons in the children’s room with shopping baskets.  They must have seen my kids coming.  The book was called Bolt: My Hero.  It was a first-reader book about a dog named Bolt, based upon a Disney movie of a few years ago.

Imagine my frustration when, in mid-December, I went to return the books and could not find Bolt.  Sonny Boy had taken it not only to school but also to Granny’s house, the playground, Kroger, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Sunday mass at the parish, both cars, and the Grassy Knoll.  Yes, that Grassy Knoll.  This book was not to be found.  So I did what any other dad would do.  I opened the library app on my phone and renewed the heck out of that book.  In fact, I renewed the book each time I took the kids back for more books.  All the while I gave Son a stern lecture.  “Do not remove library books from OUR house.”  And this seemed to work.  He was quite diligent in his care of the books he borrowed.

At least it's over.

At least it’s over.

But the problem is that even the best of books (which this clearly was not) can only be renewed three times in our library system.  Ashamed and with my head hanging low, I shuffled up to the circulation desk last week and explained my son’s situation.  I asked them how we could handle this.  What would the fines be?  When could I pay them and to whom?  Turns out that they don’t actually fine people anymore.  They simply wait until the book is overdue by ten days, put a hold on the cardholders’ account, and bill him for the cost of the book plus a $20 re-stocking fee.  According to the librarian, Bolt retails for $10.  I immediately thought “Mrs. Harvey can get it for a fraction of that.”

This past Monday evening, with zero remaining renewals and an Amazon delivery waiting at my front door, I gathered up the books and headed to the library.  I returned the books, including a $3 brand new copy of Bolt from the world’s largest online retailer.  So in the end, that missing book only cost us $13 instead of #23.  Believe me, I offered to stock the book myself and save the other $10 but they didn’t trust my alphabetizing skills.

Since I’m off on Friday of this week, I’m thinking it’s library time again.  This ought to be fun…  Wish me luck!

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3 responses to “Skipping the Fine

  1. Happy St. Valentine’s Day, Harvey!

  2. our current library system will not allow us to replace the lost item. we *have* to pay the replacement fee, which goes to the county general fund and not to actually buying another copy of the list item. nice right?

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