I have recently renewed my relationship with the public libraries of my youth. My husband and I have instituted a regular read in bed time every night, and as a result I'm actually finishing books at a decent speed, and my budget can't keep up in terms of buying new books. I had kind of forgotten about libraries- when I was young I was a total library rat and whipped through piles of books from elementary school through high school, but after graduating from college and getting a job, the public library and I parted ways.
I'm having so much fun going and getting as many books as I want- FOR FREE!- but unknown to me, my dear library system has changed a little since our relationship of old. I have always kind of sucked at getting books back on time (or doing anything on time for that matter), but in the past it didn't really matter THAT much because what would it cost...a buck or two? Not a problem.
So when my pile of books from last months trip to the library became a little overdue, I wasn't too concerned and didn't feel the necessary sense of urgency to get myself to the library to drop them off. But yesterday I had some time, so off I went. I entered the library, wandered around, chose a new pile of books to replace the ones I wanted to return. When I was finished, I took my little self and bag of readables up to the counter, smiling at the librarian and saying: "Hi, I need to check out this pile, and return this pile, and pay my fees." The librarian began doing whatever librarians do to return books, and then she turns to me and says:
"That will be $17.50."
I tried not to look surprised, because I didn't want to reveal the fact that I hadn't been to the library regularly since the overdue fee was $.10, but inside I sobbed as I handed over a much cherished twenty dollar bill. And then sobbed even more when she handed me my TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS change from my TWENTY DOLLAR BILL.
So now the little receipt they give you that has the books you took out listed with their due dates is taped on the front of the refrigerator. Lest I pay more than the $17.50 that I've already paid for my privilege to read free books.