Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Visits to the Library

Recently, we put Eliana in tap/ballet class at one of our local park centers. Honestly, it's about perfect. It's incredibly affordable. (We get three months of lessons for the same price as the local dance studios charge for one month.) Her teacher is terrific and holds a dance recital for all the girls-- not only that, but she goes above and beyond, making costumes for all the girls when ordinarily this would be yet another expense at most of the dance studios around town.

But the bonus in my mind was that there is a small library in the same park center. I imagined dropping her off at class and then taking the others to the library to spend the next forty-five minutes--keeping the boys occupied and leisurely perusing for any books we needed all in one fell swoop while she was doing her stuff. So, imagine my surprise when I realized during the first class that the library had just cut its hours and now wouldn't be opening until 15 minutes after class was finished. Booooo!!! That first class was completely fun to sit through since I had brought absolutely nothing with me to keep the boys occupied.

Several weeks later, after I had finally figured out how to keep the boys entertained through those looong 45, I decided we'd wait the next 15 minutes to get into the library. I'd brought a list of books I wanted to look for to go with the lessons we'd been doing in school and we were ready to go. As the clock ticked closer to opening time, a crowd of elderly people began to form-- eagerly waiting to be let in. As we neared two minutes until open, the baby decided to wake and Cruz became increasingly aware that he'd already spent an hour in the stroller. But I also had two big kids who had also been waiting patiently for the opportunity to peruse the children's books shelves.

(sticky-faced Cruz-- yes, lollipops may be on the list of things to keep the boys busy during our wait)

We finally entered and I realized that the library building had somehow magically shrunk since I was a child and as I began to look for books I began to realize just how crazy I had been to think that somehow there might be a good portion of the books I was looking for on their shelves. Out of a list of over 30 fairly well-known books, I found two that were on my list. To top it off, the baby was beginning to believe that she should be fed but all the chairs were already fill with the previously mentioned library patrons and Cruz was now nearing on a full 90 minutes in the stroller and was beginning to mess with his already greatly agitated little sister. Over her cries, and his shrieking I half whispered-half shouted directions to my older two to make their final selection and get over to the counter to check out.

I pull out my debit card to try and pay our fines from early this summer. (I try so hard to not accrue fines and when I do it's always right before or right after I've had a baby. Then, it takes me forever to get the guts to pay it off because somehow it seems like I'm having to do penance to the librarian and explain exactly why it's taken me so long to get there to pay it off... see, I just had a baby and I'm just now beginning to venture back into the world and especially the library.) But now, I have a loudly crying baby and the lady is swiping, swiping, swiping my card and nothing...

"Maybe if I try the other computer," she murmurs to herself. She swipes it some more and then returns to her regular computer. (Apparently STAR system crashed for about 15 minutes in a certain area that Tuesday and the library I was checking out at just happened to be affected... and I happened to choose the very time that it failed.) The baby is throwing a royal fit, Cruz is kicking and swinging at anything he can now, my big kids have now been standing at the desk for more than five minutes and are beginning to get restless themselves, and patrons are turning around to glare at us. I start digging into the depths of the diaper bag for my checkbook... why checkbook must you always fall into the depths? 

Never again. Last week, I got online, reserved all the books and DVDs I wanted for our school, had them sent to the same library. (I figure waiting the 15 minutes after class is still shorter than taking a separate trip and having to load/unload the kids at a different library.) The selection was amazing because I was able to pull books from any library in the city, and have them sent to that specific library... I was able to find every book I wanted minus one! I sent the big kids to go find one book each while the librarian found my stack of books, I paid a total of three dollars for the 12 items I reserved, STAR system was up and running, the kids were quick in making their selection, and we were in and out of there in about 5 minutes.

(Our library book bag after a successful trip!)

Now, I love the library. I love books. (Although, I rarely get to read a book for my own enjoyment at this point of my life.) I think it would be heavenly to work in the children's department of a library or bookstore when I retire from my current job. My husband and I on the rare occasion that we go on a date often end up at a bookstore. But! Right now, my little kids are not at a point where the library works for us to hang out and soak up whatever reading we want to do. And I love my new library system. Spending $3 is worth not having to search for the books I want or drive all over town to get them (less than a gallon of gas even!) and definitely worth shortening our very loud and noisy trips to the library to five minutes. Amen!


mommyjoymarie said...

Totally been there!! Did you know you can get a library gold card for $30 a year? You can reserve books for free...and you have grace period for turning them in. ;) I love it!!

Michelle said...

I really enjoyed reading this! So glad I'm not the only one who has days like this. And so happy the next visit to the library was painless!

Ali said...

Haha! I've had some crazy library experiences too! Funny how stressful a library can be. I now reserve my books too and if I'm brave enough to take the whole crew, we do our trip real quick too. It's the best way if I do it at all!