Monday, June 7, 2021

Registering library cards


A young couple walks into the library. By the angle of their trajectory, their body language, and several dozen other indicators too small to name or consciously notice, but by now understood by me in my very blood, I know for a fact that they are coming to me at the front desk of the library to get a library card. 

I also know, by so deep a raft of experience that it borders on the psychic, what city they live in.

And I am furious. Why have they passed three libraries closer to them, indeed left their home library system, to drive across town, all to come to me to get a library card? Why are they interrupting my, my, my...

Well, the point is that I could be doing something important!

And that I hate them. I hate them and their stupid library cards.

They're not even going to check anything out!

I hate doing library cards. I hate it with a furious rage!

Hate hate hate hate hate!

"And why do you hate them?" You ask.


I don't know actually. 

There's a lot of typing to it, and so many canned speeches and explanations, and it's just so much the same thing every time. But the real reason is: Maybe I just have to hate something. Maybe it has to be the measure by which everything else is okay at the front desk: Crazy people, book requests based on incorrect titles, problem returns, life advice, lost and found searches, computer passes, library fine resolution, complaints about the librarians, it's all okay. I'm delighted to be of assistance.

But library cards? No. That's a bridge too far. That is a sin for which there is no redemption. They can never be forgiven. They have sealed their doom!

Well, there is the one thing:

If when I ask them for their email address they tell it to me in a  clear, efficient, and coherent manner, all is forgiven.


  1. Huh. Registering new library cards was one of my favorite things to do, especially for little kids (not super-little, but old enough to have a little conversation) and new immigrants. In both cases, so long as there weren't any odd situations. I had an awful time remembering how to handle odd situations, and would hand them off to a co-worker any time I could.

    Yeah, go ahead, hate me for that. At least I wasn't at your library.

    1. No, it's all good. Though I will say the trick is there is no remembering how to handle odd situations, it's all inventing. To be honest we'd be fine if you did all those library cards and I did all the odd situations.


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