Perennially Overdue at my Public Library

Sheepishly I handed the book to the desk clerk. “It’s overdue,” I whispered. Mrs. Posillipo pushed the book back and forth across the scanner and flatly stated, “$1.70.” “But it’s 2 weeks late. And I got it a little wet.” She picked it back up and examined the exposed edges. “$1.70.” I handed over my single and some nickels and dimes and scuttled through the metal detectors and out the door of my public library.

Stacks at the public library

My Love/Hate Affair with the Public Libary


First edition, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961. With illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I like to adopt an author for the summer. It’s also the season when I renew my love affair with our public library, even though it means more encounters with Mrs. Pos, who has served my town as check-in clerk since I was in braces. Back in those days, I was late returning James and the Giant Peach and books about magic tricks.

This time it was The Goldfinch. Nearly 800 pages of terrific storytelling from Donna Tartt, so it took me awhile. A long while. I started it on my Kindle, switched to the Kindle app on my iPad, and then chucked the devices and went to the public library. I’ve given electronic reading the college try, but I hate it because I prefer the turn of a page. And I like to dogear paperbacks and bookmark hardcovers with combs or postcards or napkins. Don’t hate me but I also drop my books in the bathtub and use them to unwobble tables and I want to share them. If you’re one of the friends I’ve pressed a book onto, hollering “You’ll LOVE it!”, please understand my enthusiasm is sincere.

Explore your public library this summer. I’d say it’s a cheap way to entertain yourself, but when I looked at my library tax, I realized why they only charge a dime a day for overdue books. $500 a year works out to $41.67 a month – that’s more than my Netflix and Spotify accounts combined. To get my money’s worth, I’ll attend some lectures on the sublime sipping pleasure of Bulgarian wines, join the knitting circle, thumb through magazines, and borrow the original Planet of the Apes films. I wonder what they charge for overdue videos?I'm on a WANTED poster at my public library because my books are always overdue.


4 thoughts on “Perennially Overdue at my Public Library

  1. Pingback: Stop Waiting. How to Take Your Bucket List Adventure Today! | The Open Suitcase

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