The thing about blogging is what you post goes out there for anyone and everyone to see. Forever. So you have to be careful what you say…don’t say something you’re not willing to say to a roomful of strangers. On the other hand, what you post goes out there for anyone and everyone to see! And sometimes it’s nice to take advantage of the opportunity to tell the whole world about injustices you may be experiencing (like my injustice with the UPS Store a few months ago).
This time my beef is with the Iowa City Public Library. Don’t get me wrong…I love the Iowa City Public Library, but some of their policies really stink. There’s a big chess board right outside the Iowa City Public Library. And the library has…I wouldn’t call them “life sized chess pieces,” but they’re BIG chess pieces. It’s not unusual to see people playing chess there on nice days. But you have to check the pieces out from the library.
Preteen has been dying to play chess out there for I don’t know how long. Finally, last Friday I took him down there after school to see if we could play, but the pieces were already checked out. Who knew you actually had to reserve them in advance? Well, I didn’t know when I could commit to coming back to play, so I wasn’t ready to make a reservation yet that day. But when I was in the library again yesterday, I decided we could go down there today after school, so I asked whether the pieces were available. They were! So the nice librarian took my library card so she could complete the reserve, but then she handed it back to me. “I’m sorry,” she said. “But I can’t complete this reserve.” I figured the problem was I already had too many reserves on my card…fortunately, the reason I was in the library in the first place was to pick up a book I had on reserve.
But no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was I LIVE IN CORALVILLE!!!! For those of you who don’t live around here, Coralville/Iowa City is THE SAME COMMUNITY. It’s the same school district. And if you come here, you may not even know whether you’re in Coralville or Iowa City because the border isn’t even marked on many of the roads.
THIS IS UNFAIR!!!! And I told the librarian so. I understand that Coralville is my “home library.” That is why I place my Interlibrary loans at the Coralville Public Library rather than the Iowa City Public Library. It wouldn’t occur to me to borrow a slide projector or DVD player from the Iowa City Library when I can borrow one from the Coralville Public Library. BUT YOU CAN’T BORROW LARGE CHESS PIECES FROM THE CORALVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY!!!! (And there is no over-sized chess board out in front of that library.)
If I lived in “rural Johnson County,” (in other words, further away than Coralville) I could use the chess pieces. But because I live in Coralville, and I have a library in my community (nevermind that I actually have an Iowa City card as well as a Coralville card…nevermind again that the Coralville library doesn’t have chess pieces), I am not eligible to check out the large chess pieces. I can’t even use them if I show up one day and they’re not being used or not on reserve. (Another stupid thing about their policy is when you check out these pieces YOU GET THEM FOR 24 HOURS!!!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an over-sized chess board in my yard, so WHY WOULD I WANT TO HAUL THEM HOME??? I just want to use them there!) The librarian told me that if the Coralville library had “reciprocity” with Iowa City, THEN I could check them out. Well, I’m on the Friends Board for the Coralville Public Library. Teen works there. Preteen volunteers there. I do my teen writers workshop there. I know the people there VERY well. So I went down and talked to the assistant director about it yesterday. She was baffled. What does “reciprocity” mean, she wondered? The librarian in Iowa City told it meant the two libraries would share a catalog. Well, they may not use the same catalog, but you can check the holdings at one library from the other. Open Access in Iowa allows you to return materials checked out from one library at another library. So who knows what the Iowa City librarian actually meant…the Coralville librarian is going to look into it, though.
In the meantime, I have a very unhappy 12-year-old. And I can’t say I blame him. I told him to write a letter to the Iowa City Public Library. I wrote one, too. Sometimes writing a letter makes a difference (the last time I wrote them a letter they actually DID change their policy). Maybe the Iowa City Public Library will eventually decide to play nice and “share their toys” with everyone!