When they pry it from my cold, dead hand

That’s the only way they’ll get it. My library card is what they want. Or at least the people at one branch, which shall go unnamed. Every time, they pretend that it needs “renewing.” In other words, they ask whether the address in the library database is still a good one. The answer is yes. Sometimes at this branch they even ask for proof of residence and current address. Then they’ll remark that the card looks old and ask whether I wouldn’t like to exchange it for a new one. And the answer’s no; this card’s fine. And they proffer some kind of application form anyhow.

Lately at this branch they’ve been claiming that the card must be turned in for a new one, because it’s supposedly too old for “the new system.” So far it has worked to say that there’s not time to fill out the new form and then just take the form and leave after the new books have been grudgingly signed out.

This card doesn’t work, and it hasn’t worked with the system for at least a decade. It’s too worn. It’s been used too much. The number won’t scan and must be punched in manually. That’s the only thing that’s wrong with it. It’s been to every single branch. It’s been with me through two addresses, both on the same street and sharing the first three digits of the street number. It’s just fine.

3 Comments so far

  1. elizabeth (unregistered) on November 14th, 2005 @ 4:17 pm

    Yeesh, I go to the library about every week and I have had to show proof of residence every year (the last couple of years) to renew my card. I had to get a new card a little while ago because mine was so faded, and *gasp*, I got a gold card which donates money to the library.

    I can’t tell if this post is sarcastic or not, but if it’s not . . . that’s just sad.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on November 14th, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

    I go at least every week. Our libraries are an important oasis for lunch-time respite-seekers, for the homeless, and for after-school kids, among many, many other distinct groups of Austinites. I renew once a year, always at the main branch. I get around to all the (open) branches, of which there seem to be fewer all the time. It is only at one branch that I’m asked to “renew” (which is to say, confirm my address, and sometimes even show documents) over and over again. At every branch but a particular one, if the card doesn’t swipe the number is quickly entered manually and no remark is passed. I do not want to fill out a new “application.” The library service has gone down, down, and down and is one reason why Austin is not a so-called “great city.” Every great American city has a great library system. Our taxes are supposed to pay for ours, and used to pay for a very respectable one, one that acquired new materials and didn’t de-acquisition what it should have kept. Every extra non-tax dollar going to the library serves as an excuse for a reciprocal cut in the official budget.

  3. Matt Vance (unregistered) on November 14th, 2005 @ 6:14 pm

    On the subject of the library, when are they ever going to get around to making the online catalog available 24×7?

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