Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Read it down

We have a program here at my library called Read It Down. Children can spend time reading as an alternative to paying their fines. They come read and get credits against their fines. I'm okay with the program. It's once a month, sends a few odd and mixed messages (pay for your mistakes with reading. "No! Anything but reading!"), but it is somewhat practical and enabling.

Recently a middle-aged man, not having read the fine print, or, really, the medium sized print either, announced to one of my colleagues that he wouldn't pay for his rental DVDs now. He would just do Read It Down later. When it was explained to him that Read It Down was for children he was bitter. "You mean I have to drag a child in here to read for me?" He asked incredulously, continuing to confuse as much as he could short of trying to breathe in the stapler.

No, no! No one needs to drag a child into our library! This is the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Library, we keep all the children in caves underneath the library where their ceaseless reading powers our budget. No adults need pay any fines because of this.

Or, wait, maybe we're The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Library?

The weird thing is that, though I very much dislike this belligerent man and just wish he would go away, I think we actually should have Read It Down for adults exactly like him. I feel that this is precisely the kind of person who could be ennobled by being coerced into reading. He could have his heart opened. He could be shown the signposts to enlightenment. Just so long as I get to pick the reading material. Aye, I've got the two above stories lined up for him already, and a nice slew for after, too.


  1. That is a very odd program. Who thinks of these things?

    1. Read it down was invented by Austrian Librologists in the mid 1700's, so it's more traditional at this point.


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