Monday, October 02, 2006

PRP vs. MCL, Round 2

I know I've already ripped on the Mid-Columbia Library system in an earlier post, but I now have more to say on the bizarre behavior that seems to accompany librarians. I don't mean to offend, really I don't, but they make it so easy.

Last week I got a letter stating that I had lost a book titled "Buffalo Before Breakfast" and would need to pay the replacement cost of $8.99 and the overdue charge of $4.80. (Don't even get me started on the absurdity of having to pay a late charge on a book that's lost...) I asked Brad if he returned the book when he returned "The Undomestic Goddess" by Sophie Kinsella for me. (A good book if you're looking for one and not nearly as obnoxious as her Shopaholic series.) Anyway, he tells me that he does in fact remember returning it and that he doesn't know what the library is talking about. I distinctly remember putting both books on the front seat of his car so I feel pretty confident that they were returned. I also knew that there would be a small late charge for BBB because although I had renewed TUG, I hadn't bothered to renew Spence's book because I didn't think he would want to read it for the 53rd time. I was wrong.

So I call the library this morning to set them straight and the women who answers my call is clearly in need of a Red Bull shot right into the vein. I'm not quite sure she has an actual pulse and that's just from the sound of her voice. I explain the situation to her and she looks up my account in the computer, once again using ONLY my library card number and not simply my name but whatever. She then tells me that the book was returned on the 26th of September. I asked her when TUG was returned because I know I didn't go to the library last week and neither did Brad. She tells me TUG was returned on the 6th of September. (Are you sensing my confusion yet?) I tell her that my husband returned both books at the same time on the 6th. She tells me she'll need to look into it. Uh, ok...Are you going to review the parking lot security tape to see when my husband showed up??? Knock yourself out.

Here's the really fun part. I then ask her to please waive the replacement fee since the book was returned and she tells me that she'll need to check the shelves to make sure that the book is within the library walls.

"Doesn't my account show that it was returned?" I ask sweetly.

"Yes, your account does show that but I'll still need to make sure that the book is here."

" What if the book has been checked out by someone else?" I inquire.

"Well, then it gets really tricky" she says.

Ok, so here's what I'm thinking: librarians are the strangest people on the planet. That doesn't even make sense! First of all, if the computer says that I returned it, isn't that all they need to know? Second, if the book had been checked out by someone else does that mean that I'm a liar and therefore accountable for the book? Crazy, crazy thinking Ms. Librarian.

I realize it's only $8.99 and all that but it's so weird to me. Luckily, she just called back and said that the great literary masterpiece "Buffalo Before Breakfast" has indeed been found and that my account has been cleared. Thank goodness for that.

1 comment:

Heather said...

But Karen it is a big deal $8.99 five times gets pricey! :)