Thursday, December 6, 2012

{Blogger Babble} One Card To Rule Them All…

Did you know that on some planes of existence it is illegal for more than one person in a family to use the same library card? Oh it is, it has to be. If not I can not explain why I get treated the way I do at my local branch.

You see, I have 4 people in my family. My husband, myself, and our two kids. My kids are 8 and 3 and we all use the same library card. Now, I’m willing to bet a shiny new penny that none of you gasped in horror like I said we all used the same toothbrush or something. Well the staff at my local library sees no difference between sharing a library card, and sharing oral hygiene products.


Now I hear ya, you don’t think it’s weird, or disgusting but there’s the question of “Why” hanging around. You’re saying, Why this lifestyle choice Amber?.  I am happy to answer that question for you! It’s not to drive the library workers mad with insanity. No, no, it’s just easier.

One card is easier to keep track of. How many cards do you already have in your purse/wallet? I don’t want to have to log in and out, and in and out of multiple accounts to track what’s where and due when.

One card is easier at check out. I don’t have to sort the books and movies into piles of who is going to use them, then locate and produce the coordinating card.

One card is simpler for paying fees: Some of the rentals have a .50 a day fee on them. I don’t need, nor want to have to look up and pay 4 flipping accounts when I can just have the one.

So we employ the ONE CARD lifestyle in our household. Our card happens to be in my husbands name, and in most worlds this wouldn’t be a big issue. Notice I said “most worlds”. In my world however; big issue for the library.

Let me tell you of the frustrating, yet simultaneously funny things (now that they are over) that have happened to me and my family because of  our one card lifestyle.

FIRST SOTRY – The Case Of The Lost PIN

Several months back I needed to request a book and couldn't remember my PIN number, which the web site requires for all account use. Figuring they had it in my info, I went up to ask the  counter to ask the woman for help. The following is our conversation:

ME: I want to request a book, but I forgot my PIN number, is that something that you can give to me?
HER: Sure, let me see your card
ME: Thanks <hands over card>
HER: Are you Alex?
ME: No
HER: then I can’t give you the number, I’m sorry. <hands card back>
ME: Alex is my husband, can you call him?
HER: No, I’m sorry. I have no way to prove it’s him on the phone.
ME: <confused look> I can call the bank and get my balance and checking account number over the phone?
HER: We’re not the bank.
ME: Alright. Well, how can he get the number since I’m sure he doesn’t remember it either.
HER: He needs to come in with photo ID
ME: <areyoueffingseriousrightnow> Ooooh-kay.
HER: <artificial smile>
ME: Can you request the book for me, with out the PIN?
HER: No.
ME: Okay so I can’t request books until my husband comes in to get the PIN number.
HER: You could get your own library card <stern look>
ME: We just need the one for our family, thanks
HER: <daggersshootingfromeyes>
ME: okay well thank you. <turns to walk away>
HER: If you want to request a book with out the PIN number, the Reference Desk can do that for you
ME: <fights urge to turn around and scream “Why didn’t you just tell me that in the first place!?”>


Two Weeks Later

My husband and I have returned to Gringots the library together in order to retrieve the PIN number. Keep in mind that we decide to get the PIN number AFTER, for an entirely different reason the (different than last time) woman helping us just looked at and wrote down the info on my husbands ID, and talked to my husband who has now returned to the kids section – maybe 30 feet away to pull a toddler off the wall. The toddler may have been ours.

ME: Oh, and we need our PIN
HER: I’ll need to see your husbands ID.
ME: You just looked at it and wrote all the info down?
HER: Sorry, I really have to see his ID
ME: <storms back to my husband for ID, wonders how hard you would have to throw a library card to cause pain as I storm back to counter and hand over card>
HER: <type type type click click click> Okay I have the PIN number.
ME: Great! What is it?
HER: I can’t give it to you?
ME: You’re kidding me <laughs> He’s standing right there <she’s really not kidding>
HER: I can only give it to him, YOU are not the card holder.
ME: <Storms over to collect husband>
HIM You know you could have given her the number, she’s my wife.
HER: Sorry sir, I can only give it to the card holder for security reasons.
HIM: Okay, well. What is it?
HER: <dumbfounded> you just want me to tell it to you?
HIM: Is it long?
HER: No.
HIM: Than I can’t imagine it needs to be written down.
HER: Okay then <eyeballs me as if to say “with her here and everything?Then leans in on the counter real close turning her back to me as much as possible and says as quietly as possible to my husband:> 0379
HIM: Thanks


Every word of that is the honest to God’s truth. And that’s the real PIN number to our library card. I am absolutely mystified why it’s so important to them. The accounts retain no information unless you want to know when the copy of Everybody Poops is due. You can’t buy anything on the site, you can’t even find my address in there.

If you hack into my library account and want to pay off my fees or renew Season 4 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer for me GO RIGHT AHEAD. But be warned, breaking into library accounts is just a gateway to the hard stuff. Soon you’ll be hacking Cub Food points cards just to look at them or stealing wallets to hold the punch cards from Baskin Robins!

I figured this would be the very last incident I would encounter sharing a card with my family. But it turns out it’s not just requesting the books that get ya, it’s also returning them. I give you

Story 2 The Case of Just Take The Book Back!

Now that I had my PIN number, I could request books, and request I did. On this day I had a book ready for my daughter to pick up, but it was something I bought her for Christmas and didn’t want her to read it now and ruin it. I had to have the book sent from another library in our county so I took it to the counter and handed it to the man working, this is the I KID YOU NOT conversation we had.

ME: Hey, I requested this book for my daughter but ended up buying it for her for x-mas so I’m not going to check it out after all. Thought I would bring it up so you could get it off to the next person in line a little faster. <smiles at my good deed>
HIM: What’s your daughter’s name?
ME: <confused> Why?
HIM So I can make sure it was in fact on hold for her
ME: It wasn’t on hold for her, I requested it.
HIM: You just said it was on hold for her?
ME: No I said I requested it for her.
HIM: I just need her name <annoyed sigh>
ME: It’s not under her name, it’s under mine, I requested it. For her. <is he slow? Am I speaking Korean? Should I start singing Gangam Style?>
HIM: What’s your name then?
ME: <realizing that the card is actually in my husbands name, needs to explain> Well,
HIM: <cuts me off> Your name?
ME: Amber.
HIM: <click click click type type type then in snobby tone of voice says> Um, yea this book is NOT on hold for you. It’s on hold for someone else so you need to go put it back.
ME: <eyeroll> Is the name it’s under Alex, per chance?
HIM: <is she magic?> Yes.
ME: See what I was trying to tell you is we have one card for our family, it’s in my husbands name. Alex
HIM: Well Alex isn't Amber, now is it? <look of death for one card comment>



I…I just can’t understand it. If anyone has information leading to any of this making sense for me I will reward you heavily with kind words and unicorn hugs. The library acts like they are handling Social Security!



  1. Amber I absolutely love you! I have had hard times with the library too (not because of the cards though). It was a long time ago but I was trying to get a job so I had to go use the computer to fill out an online app. They let me use it fine; I left for five minutes (let them know too), came back to sign back on-I went to the counter to let them know and they tell me I have late fees. Did I? I did and I told them that I would pay the fee asap but I really needed to send this app out so I could get the job so I could pay them back. Yea that reasoning did not work for the library folks. But I couldn't understand how I could use the computer and then not, not to mention the fact I had no money at all. Period. Not even a quarter. But I will never cross paths with the fierce library worker again. They scare me! Amber, I probably would have acted real bad when your local library worker wouldn't tell your husband the pin with you standing there. Yeah I think I would have had to slap her! :)

  2. I cannot explain why libraries policies are what they are, but this makes for a funny story (I'm sure looking BACK on it, it funnier!) Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Lol, we have similar policies at work in regards to people's PINs, but we deal with information that could lead to identity theft, among other things. I don't think that can happen with a library card.

    I probably would have yelled at the librarian who cut you off when you tried to explain about Amber's book. Or punched him in the face (in my head, at least).

    Thanks for the laugh - which I hope you're able to do now as well!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Just discovered your blog and as a librarian, this story totally made me cringe! I have to say though, I have worked at 3 different libraries and all have had the same policy about not giving out info about the account to anyone but the cardholder. It has to do with state privacy laws so it's actually a legal matter, not something the library has arbitrarily put in place. A former boss helped justify the rule by telling me about a time where a man came to pick up some holds for his family and his wife had ordered a book about getting divorced. not good! All that said, I can't believe how rude those librarians were to you!

    1. Jessica,
      I appreciate you stopping in! WELCOME! I'm glad to have a librarian weighing in and I do appreciate your post! :)

      If my library workers were polite and explained in a manner with actual info that made actual sense, it would be better. But When my husband is standing there, clearly telling her that he wants to share the info with his wife it should be respected.

      With all due respect to you and your profession, which I admire greatly, it's a library card and hardly a matter of national security. If I can get bank info over the phone by confirming who I am, I find it down right ridiculous the library feels their info is more important and can not be gained through a phone call.

      And the fact that a judge saw a case where a man picked up books on hold for his family and one was on divorce only makes me weep for this nation even more. I cringe thinking tax payer dollars went to help cover a case over a library card. Maybe the wife should have been smart enough not to check the book out, rather read it in the library? It's safe to say even if the husband hadn't picked it up for her, he would have no doubt stumbled across it at home, or seen it on the receipt. Honestly, to blame the fact he picked it up is lazy. She was already putting the wheels in motion for divorce, and while it's a very unfortunate way to find out, to blame the procedure of the library for the stupidity of it's patron is flat out nuts. The book didn't cause the divorce and even if it did that's still not the library's fault at all.

      This world amazes me. Every one wants someone to blame for something. No one takes responsibility for their own actions anymore.

      Thanks for stopping in and helping explain it a little. It was very helpful! I really hope I'll see you around on the blog more often! :)


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