Read On! No shame

young girl hiding her face with her hands. Text says "no shame. read on."

Many times when I meet someone new and they learn I’m a librarian, the two of us enter an awkward conversation where my new friend sheepishly tells me all of the terrible things they’ve ever done to a library book. They seem genuinely relieved when I tell them “these things happen” or “I’ve done worse!”  

So, let’s enter a safe, non-judgemental space together. Think of all the terrible things you, your family, your pets, etc. have done to materials checked out from the library. Things like turning them in late, losing them, damaging them, and so on. Here’s what I say to you all: These things happen. No big deal. There’s no shame in any of that. Especially not if you pay the fine or replace the item. Do not be weighed down by these things.

And now for the “I’ve done worse” portion of the conversation:

After coming home one day, I placed my library books on my dining room table. Our dining room table tends to collect Life’s debris – kids’ art supplies, half-finished Lego sets, cups of water that have been there who-knows-how-long, etc. Unfortunately, one of the things on the dining room table when this story takes place was a jug of distilled water that had a tiny leak. It was sitting next to my library books slowly leaking into their pages. By the time I noticed, the books were beyond soggy and completely ruined. 

Another librarian checked out a book on her first day of work. She then promptly lost that book and had to use part of her first paycheck to pay for it. 

At any given time, you can assume at least a quarter of the Library’s staff have overdue books and/or fines. 

All of this is to say, we understand that Life happens to library materials. Don’t feel bad when it happens while they’re in your care. Let us know about it and we’ll figure it out together.