the great library mix-up

Yesterday, I had a rather amusing experience and thought it was worth sharing here. I should preface this post by mentioning that, for many years, I’ve had a library card for our local system. Although the cards are free to residents in our region, Don has never bothered to get a card of his own. To save on car trips and gas, he usually picks up and drops off “our” borrowed books on his way home from work, so I rarely have the card in my possession. However, yesterday, I did have occasion to use it as I had a dentist appointment in a nearby town and decided to pick up a DVD that I had reserved along with a couple of books. The incident unfolded pretty much as follows:

I entered the library and picked up the DVD that I’d reserved over the internet a few days ago. It was Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (I’ll write a review of it sometime in the next day or two). At our library, reserved items are placed on a special rack and have the first four letters of your name printed in a vertical column on a small paper that is fastened to the iitem with a big elastic band so that the letters are easily visible on the spine of the shelved book or DVD.

There was a small line-up at the check-out area, so I browsed around and found a couple of other things to borrow.

When I got to the check-out, I handed over my card for scanning, and removed the elastic and paper from the DVD (to be helpful). While the librarian scanned my card, I said, “I think there’s a one dollar fine on my card, but I forgot to bring some money in with me to pay it this time.”

She looked on her monitor screen and replied, “No, there’s no fine showing on your card.”

I was puzzled by this as I’d seen the fine showing on my computer at home earlier that morning. I suppose that should have been the tip-off that there was something amiss, but I didn’t twig onto it immediately.

After scanning my card, the librarian scanned the DVD barcode. She looked at the monitor, frowned slightly, and said, “I’m sorry, this isn’t for you. It’s on reserve for someone else.”

She began replacing the piece of paper and elastic that I had just removed from the DVD when I placed it on the check-out desk.

I was now beginning to feel a little confused.
I replied, “What? But the paper has my name on it.”

She turns the paper toward me and points her finger at the name written in black marker and remarks,
“See. It says W-I-G-N. It’s for someone else.”

I say, “But that’s me! WIGNey!”

She frowns slightly and says, “So, you aren’t Jessica?”

I reply, “Jessica?? No. I’m Bev.”

She says, “But you have Jessica’s card. Is she a family member?”

I say, “No. There’s just me, Bev. I’m the one with the card in our family.”

She says, “Well, you have Jessica’s card.”

I say, “Well, this is very weird. I got that library card out of my husband’s pocket this morning.”
(At this point, I’m actually musing aloud over this very confusing puzzle.)

The librarian now gives me a slightly worried look. Perhaps she’s wondering why my husband has “Jessica’s library card” in his pocket. Maybe she’s even wondering if this incident is going to turn rather ugly.

She’s still holding the card when I say, “My card is # 555555555555555555555.”
She looks at the card and sees that I’m reciting the ridiculously long string of numbers correctly.

Now she looks very puzzled. “Well, that *is* the number on this card.”

She scans my card again, and this time, my name comes up on the screen. She frowns as she looks at it and then at my card.
She says, “The bar code on your card is getting rather worn. That must have caused a problem. It could have caused books to be placed onto the wrong card. Perhaps we should give you a new card so this won’t happen again.”

I nod. “Yes, that’s probably a good idea. Except that, now I’ll have to memorize a new number, right?”

She nods, “Yes, that’s true. And, indeed, you do owe a dollar fine on your books too.”

So, now I have a shiny new library card.
And I have a very long new number to memorize.
And I do indeed owe the library a dollar.
But I did get the DVD that I’d reserved, along with the books.
And Don didn’t have to explain how Jessica’s library card ended up in his pocket.
But that reminds me….
It’s probably about time he got his own damned library card.


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7 Responses to “the great library mix-up”

  1. Jimmy Says:

    This is very funny…but at least things are fixed.

  2. Mark Says:

    … or he could get Jessica’s card.

  3. LauraH Says:

    Funny! Glad it didn’t turn out ugly.

  4. Cathy Says:

    AhhahahahahHa! Great story! I’ve got a similar one that I’ll have to post someday. It even involves a spider! And on that note I’ll mosey bravely down to your next post which looks SCARY! Mommeey!

  5. burning silo Says:

    Jimmy – Yes, it was funny. When I got outside the library door, I was laughing out loud.

    Mark – Well, that is certainly one possibility! (-:

    Laura – Yes, indeed! The expression on the librarian’s face was priceless when I mentioned that the card had been in my husband’s pocket. lol!

    Cathy – Let me know when you post your story. It must be a good one if it involves a spider!

  6. robin andrea Says:

    I’m just amazed and impressed that you memorize your library card #. I’m going to have to try doing that. I’m not sure why, but I like the idea. We’ve been getting dvds from our little local library lately. They’re supposed to email us when something we’ve reserved has come in. I checked my online account the other day and noticed that something was in and on hold for us, but I didn’t get an email. I wonder if “jessica” got it!

  7. pablo Says:

    My library card had literally fallen into three pieces before I would surrender to replacing it (and learning the new number). I do most of my library work online, so I had my number memorized, and I was reluctant to change that. But I had to, and darned if I didn’t learn the new number in a short time.