the ugly truth about the library

It wasn’t obvious to me until this year when Rhett(4) and I had 3 days all to ourselves that he might have missed out on some things that I did with the other boys regularly.

Like common things.

Like as common as going to the library.


4 year old boy gives skeptical lookI used to go to the library all the time with his older brothers.   I suspect we stopped going when wrangling two toddlers and a baby just seemed like more work than borrowing books was worth.

Then to top it off on our last library visit with two toddlers and a baby I accidentally misplaced one of the 17 dump truck books that we borrowed.

This did not escape the attention of the librarian who issued a bill which I soon found out was not payable by credit card.   What mom who is shushing two toddlers and a baby while juggling 16 dump truck books has CASH?   I should have payed them in diapers…


Anyway, yesterday Rhett and I decided to go visit the library.   We walked in and he immediately reported that he preferred Barnes & Noble.   I immediately responded that library books were free.


A big smile came over his face and he asked if he could pick out some books.

Of course!   Pick several!

I lead him over to the dump truck book shelf, but he seemed more interested in fire trucks.   He chose 5 fire truck books and asked if he could take them all.


We stopped in the big comfy couch section and read a few picture books.   It was all very library-ish.

I checked out and the librarian mentioned that my account still had a block on it due to the lost book 3 years earlier.     But she by the grace of the library gods allowed me to exit the premises   with a warning and 5 fire truck books.


Rhett was giddy.   He was admiring the books in the car.   He was examining them at home and then we sat down and read them all in one sitting.


I mentioned that when we took the books back we could get all NEW books…

Take them back?

Uh-oh. I then explained library protocol which includes having to return the books.   The books belonged to the library and we were just borrowing them (barring loss, payment and subsequent library card blockage).

He sat on my lap and cried…

Sobbed really.

With tears streaming down his face and a quivering chin, he again reported that he preferred Barnes & Noble.


  1. When books are late, just tell them you’re doing your part to help support the library by paying fines. 🙂

    How great your little guy loves books so much!

  2. Cute. My 4 year old is the opposite. He doesn’t like going to B&N and Borders because he seldom gets to take a book home from there. lol

  3. Hey-I am a librarian who harangues kids all day about lost books and late returns and then I cheerfully fork over the $$ for all my fines-cause it is till cheaper then buying them 🙂 Librarian, return thy books on time…

  4. After the fiftieth time of noticing all the library staff’s hackles go up when my daughters entered, I gave up on it. Not to mention I paid more than a car payments worth in overdue fees in less than a year. It is cheaper for us to order books on Amazon.

  5. First, a whole new branch of the library could be opened in my name with all the fines I have paid. And the sad thing is that the library is across the street from my neighborhood and you can renew online. Free fail.

    I also used to go to the library frequently, even with 3 kids under 3 years old, but then #4 came along and our trips grew infrequent. Now I don’t even go unless I can leave the youngest ones home.

  6. Might I recommend that you find an independent bookstore in your area to support instead of the big box books? I am sure that there have to be some. Check out We have a few independent stores here in San Antonio, and I love going there with my daughters. But we also love the library.

  7. Mine don’t like returning the books either but I told them they only get new books when they take back old books & that seemed to work.

    Our library lets you renew a book like 12 times before they say to bring it back or pay for it & you can renew online. They send you an email the day before they are due & remind you, which has saved me a fortune in fees

  8. Oh dear…

    Oh dear oh dear.

    I hate those moments. I don’t have many of them anymore, because my kids are all worldly teens now, but…

    I hated them.

  9. I remember the day my son told me he wanted to take home from the library a really dull book that I’d just read him while sitting there. I told him that since we’d just read it, and he had a dozen books in his stack, we should just leave this one here. But he responded that he wanted me to read it to him “a million times” — and so we had to take it home. And these are the lessons of libraries. I hope Rhett will like the library soon enough.

  10. Poor guy, Ian loves to put the books back through the slot and getting more. But as you said he is my first.

  11. happycampers says:

    Isn’t this like cardinal sin #1 for homeschoolers??

  12. this was soooo cleverly written!!
    I smiled the whole time!

  13. I agree with Lisa ”very cleverly written! My kids have only been to the library a handful of times since we live in Moscow… It wasn’t until Katya turned nine that she stopped mixing up the words for library and bookstore!!! They got their library cards for when we’re visiting my mom two years ago. First time there, 6-year-old Natalia looked around and quipped, “Where’s the Starbucks?” 🙂

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