Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Power Trip

For those of us nerdy enough to go to library school but bad-ass enough to bend the rules a little, the idea of fudging return dates or waiving overdue fees is down-right titillating. Because when it comes down to it, librarians are humans, to err is human, and well, sometimes life gets in the way and we don’t return our books on time. Or DVDs. With late fees averaging at $1 a day. Yikes.

Even George Washington has overdue fines.

Don’t mistake me; I’m not trying to promote returning your materials willy-nilly because of the amazing power available to you. Cheating the system is dishonest. But just knowing that you could, if you wanted to, is enough to thrill you (well, me) from the top of my head down to the tips of my toes. You know, the toes that are hiding in stripy socks and curly-toed shoes à la the Wicked Witch of the West.

But you don’t need to get an MLS degree to avoid library fines - I mean really, all you’d have to do is get in tight with your local librarian, and perhaps ply them with sugar or unbeatably good book recommendations. Speaking of fun patrons, they’re something of a grey area. Sometimes those lovely, lovely patrons have a legitimate excuse, and only owe about $0.25, and it’s not that big of a deal to you or your library, and really you just want to feel like a benevolent dictator, so you let it slide. Can you feel your karma points going up?

And maybe, a little kindness (granted, at the expense of your library) would prevent patrons from trying this sneaky and underhanded tactic. Although, I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty genius. However, apart from accumulating major amounts of bad karma points, you would be robbing the library of a chance to improve – something that is beneficial for the entire community, yourself included.

I enjoy having power. Choosing whether to use it for good or for evil is a daily battle that makes my job worthwhile.

The Annoyed Librarian, Justin the Librarian, and Daniel Sifton offer a few alternative ideas on the topic of library fines. 

Because none of us want to be perceived like this: 

First comic is from Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes' comic Unshelved, and the other is from Justin the Librarian's blog.

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