Thursday, October 13, 2022

Honor System


In and of itself the library is already a weird and wonderful anachronism. But we have here an extra little feature that I love: The honor system. There aren't many bona fide honor systems still floating around our fairly desperate culture, so I try to take the opportunity to revel in it as it survives, against all odds, right in my workplace.

All of the printing at our library, and copying, and a fairly robust bookstore taking up at least a few hundred square feet near our entrance, are run entirely on the honor system. We don't have credit cards for this, or sales staff, or machines. We just have physical lockboxes to throw cash in, and information as to how much things cost, and a person is as good as their honor.

Maybe my favorite part of all of this- perhaps it suits my occasionally testing, mischievous nature- is when people come up to try to pay for copies or a stack of books. And I tell them about the honor system. And they are surprised, and maybe they say they don't have any cash. 

And I say:

"That's okay. Just remember to pay for it next time you come."

And either they pass that test, or they don't.

And I never know, but I always try to imagine the best.

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