Public Library Tips!

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Dang, this chick is condescending! Who on earth needs tips for visiting a library?! GRR.” Well yeah,  that’s what I thought too.

And maybe that’s true. But now that I’ve been working in libraries for two years, I realize that that is SO far from the truth. Things that annoy me on a daily basis at work because it’s second-hand knowledge for me could be completely foreign to someone who hasn’t visited in a few years or ever! And even if you do visit often, there could be things you don’t realize!

Here’s just a few of my tips!

  1. Bring your Library Card and/or Photo ID!Y’all. I cannot stress this one enough. Just do it. I can’t tell you how many people per day want to check out materials with no library card or sign up for a card with no ID.Depending on your library, this can be a non-issue or a huge hassle. In the library I work for now, you can use your ID to check out materials if you forgot your card, but at my old one, it was a “no library card, no books!” policy! Harsh, I know. But in the faster-paced libraries, being lenient can really cause a lot of problems! And don’t get me started on people getting angry that they can’t sign up for a card without proper ID.
  2. Know the loans and fines policies!I thought it was universal knowledge that you have to pay fines if you turn in materials late. NOPE?! Last week when a woman claimed she didn’t know that there was a loan time or fines. HUH! But these things, while pretty universal, do differ from library to library! So if you don’t know yours, ask! And don’t forget to check your receipt slip to make absolutely sure when something is due.But life isn’t always perfect and things do get turned in late. When that happens…
  3. Don’t feel guilty about having fines!Dude, it happens. It’s okay. We’re not judging you. For f***’s sake, we’ve got fines too (I have so many fines that I’m not allowed to check out books until I pay some off)! Whether you can’t renew your book for some reason and decide you need to finish it, or something comes up, or just just plain forget– like. It’s okay.And I don’t know about other libraries, but I know we’re always willing to work a bit with people who are upfront, honest, and kind about their fines. So worry not. It’ll be a’ight!That being said…
  4. Politely speak up when you think there’s a problem with your account!As magical and wondrous as we are, library staff members do make mistakes sometimes! Sometimes one book doesn’t get checked in properly and is placed back on the shelf, leaving you with fines. Sometimes your address or phone number isn’t typed in properly, so you can’t receive your “items due soon!” courtesy call.If you ever think this has been the case for your account, by all means, tell us! Better to nip these things in the bud before they become a billed item. We’ll almost always check the shelves on the spot. If we still can’t find the item, we can renew it and ask that you take one more check around the house.Nine times out of ten (and I’m not exaggerating), it’s under your kid’s bed or under a car seat. So do try! And we’ll do everything we can on our end as well. If you still can’t find it, let us know and we can work something out from there!
  5. Write to your representatives about how much libraries mean to you!This one sounds self-serving. But it’s not, I say! It’s for you beautiful people!Libraries cost money to run, and quite a bit of that money comes from the taxpayer. Collected fines are about a droplet in the pool of money needed to keep the library alive.  So instead of your tax money going to some dumb thing you don’t want, take an active role in making sure your libraries get some of them much-needed dollah dollah bills!In the places I’ve worked, when budgets are tightened, the libraries are the first to suffer. Days open are cut, people are demoted and laid off. It’s the poops.

    Don’t let this happen! If the library is important to you, tell the people in charge!

Hopefully that wasn’t an intense bore for you! I’m pretty passionate about my work and could go on forever, but I’ll leave it here. Anywho, talk to you again soon!


2 thoughts on “Public Library Tips!

  1. Oooo! I just found your blog and I’m already delighted! I work at a public library as well, so I totally feel your woes. My favorite thing is about the fines, though. Many people are like “Oh no these books are late, you’re going to cut up my card and call the police!” … Okay, slight exaggeration, but honestly. I always try to make sure people know that fines are not a big deal. As long as they pay some money off each time (even if it’s just a nickel) we let them check out more. :)

    Jes [of]

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