Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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.


We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!