Surely you’ve noticed by now that we are some library-loving folks around here. It doesn’t even matter if we’ve already got a stack of books we’re working through, if we happen to be in the neighborhood we can’t help ourselves from stopping by and borrowing more. That library addiction comes with with a cost though. And that cost usually comes in the form of library late fees. Ugh.
I’m happy that my kids get excited by the mere sight of a library, but I’m not so happy with how borrowing books and returning them when they’re due has become such a struggle. I’m sick of those library late fees! Can you relate?
The Library Struggle
When we moved to North Carolina a few years ago we left behind an incredible county library cooperative that met all of our library needs and then some. That library cooperative was amazing! With one library card, we had access to forty libraries! If I needed a book that my closest branches didn’t have, no worries. I could request that it be sent to the location of my choice and it would be there waiting for me a couple of days later. Be still my heart, right?
Now we deal with a completely different library setup and it’s taken me three years of living here to get my library act together. You see, I’m no longer in “the big city” and I don’t have the library access I’ve taken for granted all my life. We’ve got libraries here, but they’re few and far between.
In addition to being a bookloving family in general, as a homeschooling family, we rely heavily on library access and have had to make some big adjustments here. Now, instead of our one library card that granted us access to forty libraries that all worked together, we have four different library cards. Between these cards, we have access to fifteen libraries and four different circulations. (One independent library, three county library systems — our county and two surrounding counties)
So, serious business, when I’m looking for a book for homeschooling purposes, I have to search four different library databases. (If you’re a lucky duck sitting in a county with forty libraries, I beg you to take it for granted no longer!) And, more often than not, I end up getting a few books from the closest library (it’s the independent library), a few more from our county library system, and then a few more from a library system in a surrounding county.
Can you even imagine what it’s like to regularly borrow books from four different library systems? And they don’t even have the same borrowing procedures or guidelines! One library lets you borrow materials for two weeks at a time with no record of what you’ve borrowed upon checkout. Another library system allows three weeks of checkout time and graciously sends an email a few days before your borrowed materials are due back. The others give you a printout of what you’ve borrowed, but don’t give reminder emails or calls.
It’s no wonder I end up with so many stinking library late fees.
So long library late fees!
Who has time for it all? Now that I’ve explained the root of my library struggle, let me tell you what I’m doing about it. I decided it was time to create a Library Log for myself so that I can better keep up with what I’ve borrowed, where I got it from, and when it’s due back. Why did it take me so long to think of this?
Aside from my library log printable, here’s what I’m doing to stop the library struggle:
- Before leaving the library, I enter the due date and library name on my phone calendar.
- Enter my borrowed materials in my library log once I’m home. I don’t trust myself to do it later that day or that week!
- All borrowed books now have a shelf in our school room and live there while they’re not in use. A book basket would be a great place for this too, but the shelf works well for now.
- There’s now a one-at-a-time rule per child. Once they’re finished with a book, they can return that library book to the shelf and use another.
- Once a book is returned, I enter the date I returned it in the log so that I have a record of the return date.
So, there you have it. That’s my new system to help me end the library struggle and say goodbye to all those library late fees!
Library Log – Free Printable!
Are you struggling with library late fees as well? If so, help yourself to my library log printable. You can download yours in the Subscriber Resource Library or subscribe to the newsletter to gain access to the Resource Library.
(Friendly reminder: you can always find the updated library password in your most recent email from Table Life Blog.)
Once you’ve downloaded it, be sure to put your printable on the fridge or in another spot where you won’t lose it. That would be a little ironic, right?
What helps you keep up with your library books and due dates? I’d love to hear your suggestions!