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A Library Story

In Oklahoma, I had a library card through the Tulsa City-County library system. I very rarely searched a bookshelf for a book. My routine was the get on the library website, search for the books I wanted (drawing from the 20+ libraries in the system), request the ones I definitely wanted, and wait for the little e-mail that told me that my books were waiting for me on the "Hold" shelf. There were VERY FEW times in the two years I used this system that there wasn't a book that I needed/wanted. In other words ... I was spoiled.

We use books every single day of school. My philosophy is that if you want to learn about it, you read about it. Very frequently I had the maximum books checked out that you could have, according to the rules.

Then we moved to a town of less than 3,000 people. There is an adorable library here that is affiliated with the county library, and you can have books delivered here from there. However, when I sat down to see how many books the library system had from the Five in a Row Volume 1 curriculum we are using this year, they had TWO. Yes, only two! I was sad, and dismayed.

I did some research and found another city library in another nearby town 30 miles away. Going to that city is doable a couple of times a month. And, I noticed on their online catalog that they had many of the books I would need. So on Saturday I drove up (to see my grandma at the hospital) and stopped by the library to purchase a library card, since I don't live in that city. It would be $20 well-spent.

But, it was closed for renovations. What? Now what am I going to do???

Driving away, I was worried. It looked like I was going to have to start buying all of the books I wanted to use, or get very creative.

I drove a whole block ... yes ONE block ... and saw a sign for a regional library. Being desperate, I pulled in. It was great! It actually looked like Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. (btw ... if you ever go to Portland, make sure you go to Powell's. It's a book experience you will never have again.) I went in to inquire about a library card. I was told that I would need to purchase one (no big deal ) for $15. But in order to get a card that day, I had to have proof of my address, which I didn't have. Urghhh! What is the deal?

And here's where the story gets good.

As I was was turning to leave, I looked up at the woman who was standing behind the gentleman helping me. AND IT WAS A GIRL FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATING CLASS! What are the odds? I said, "Jo!" She turned around and we started chatting. I told her we had just moved back, blah, blah, blah, and she looked at the young man and said, "Give the woman a library card." Squeal!!

This small town stuff has it's perks!

After I had my library card in hand, I headed downstairs to the children's department and was delighted to see many of the books I knew I would need this year. I also pulled several from the shelf for our current tree unit, even some specific books that the study recommended that I had not been able to find elsewhere. I was thrilled! I learned that there are actually five libraries affiliated with this one, so I could get books from their libraries as well by ordering them online.

Oh ... a happy ending!


  1. I have never had access to a good library, just a passable one. I can't imagine getting everything I needed from the library! I am glad you are able to.

  2. Oh! I feel you pain- sort of. I have the same type of library system that you used to have and wondered if the rest of the world is so lucky. Now I know! Glad that you were able to find an alternative for your school library needs! I would love to live in a small town where "everybody knows your name" though. That sounds pleasant!!

  3. Yay! I love a happy ending. Yes, small town living does have its perks! A couple years ago I went to renew the tags on our car, but I didn't have my insurance with me. My State Farm agent's office was right across the street. When I told them I didn't have my card, I told them I could walk across the street and have my agent print out proof for me - but the lady told me that wasn't necessary and just renewed my tags. Gotta love it.

  4. Your story sounds just like mine. We have a small regional library without a lot of selection, but we use the website and borrow books all the time. I would be lost without a way to put books on hold and get them from other libraries. Our closest big library is actually 50 minutes from us, it is new and big and awesome. But I guess that greatness comes with a price because of budget issues in that town it is now closed on Saturday and Sunday plus doesn't open till 12:00 on Monday and Thursday. We try to visit once a month and look at all the great books, magazines, dvds, etc.


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