Library Madness: Three Things I Learned the Hard Way

I love going to libraries, but I inevitably owe fines for one reason or another. I was hoping to turn over a new leaf in CT, but no such luck…

Beautiful flowers at the Weston Library check-out/return desk cannot be ignored!

Mistake #1: Books borrowed from one library can be returned to a different library.

In NYC, you can borrow materials from one library and return them to any branch in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The thing is, there are branches in many locations and to me they felt like they were in close proximity to one another. I just never thought twice about walking into a newly discovered library while I happened to be in the neighborhood and checking something out. I could just return it at my local branch. No problem. Well, when we moved to CT, the first thing I did (not kidding) was get my library card at the Weston Public Library. I was told I could use this card anywhere in CT. Too bad I took that literally. The next library we visited was in New Canaan and I tried to take 2 princess books out in the Children’s Room. Turns out I have to register the card first with more paperwork at the front desk. Ok, I can handle that. Of course, it didn’t occur to me that I would have to return these books to the New Canaan Library. Oops! For some reason, I forgot that each town has their own library and they are not branches of one main library. Not that New Canaan is that far from Weston, but it is out of the way from daily activities. Fortunately, I was able to renew the books twice and held on to them until we were in town again…2 months later.

Mistake #2: Sets of books found in bags can be separated.

I am probably blacklisted from the New Canaan Library because I (cough, cough) dared to separate the 2 princess books from the tote bag of princess books and borrowed them. I got several phone calls from the library asking me to return the other 8 books, to please return the 2 books ASAP, and to never separate the bag o’ books. Oops, in NYC, I never encountered themed tote bags of books that someone has put together for your convenience. I don’t see these in Weston, but they do have onion bags of books at the Westport Library. Actually, the activity kits are quite good; they have toys and other visuals to go with the books to enhance learning. Yes, there is a list of items included so that you don’t destroy the hundred + dollar value of the bag. Now Westport Library also can customize a “grand kit” for grandparents if they are expecting little visitors and “travel kits” for kids who are traveling. What a great idea!

Mistake #3: Send someone else to return your stuff.

Weston Library has a pretty good collection of DVD’s, and Mads usually borrows 3 at a time (maximum per family for 3 days at a time and one renewal). You can imagine that most of the videos she borrows have pink boxes. Well, I asked my husband to return a few one time because we were not able to go ourselves. Even though I set the pile on the kitchen island, he managed to find one of our own DVD’s and put it down the return chute. That very afternoon, I was looking for Mads’ favorite sing-along DVD…yup…. I called the library immediately; they had thought it was a donation! Yes, we got it back. Whew!

You live and learn, but don’t separate what’s meant to be together!



  1. We love the library as well, but I’m pretty certain the feeling is far from mutual. We owe tons of money, my kids are not familiar with the word quiet, nor do they respond favorably to the sound shhhh, and we have been encouraged to find “other creative outlets” that do NOT include story time. Haters. Librarians are haters. Or, we are possibly not fit for public appearances.

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