Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Case of the Missing Library Book

My dear librarian friends,

I was all prepared to hang my head in shame and tell you the story of how I lost a library book.

How I somehow lost Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian the minute I brought it home from the library.

How my attempt at being financially responsible by checking out a book from the library instead of buying it completely backfired on me.

How I was planning on swearing off libraries forever.

How I renewed it three times (yes, three times) hoping and praying to the library gods that I would find it before they told me that I must return it.

How I searched my house multiple times over and over again in vain.

How I tried to renew it online today and red words angrily told me that someone had requested it and that if I didn't return it by Thursday, there would be hell to pay.

How I went home and searched and searched and searched in all of the spots in which I had been searching for the last two months.

How I was prepared to go to the library tomorrow and confess that I had lost the book and offer my next child as a form of payment. Hey, I'm already attached to the firstborn, and the second one hasn't even been conceived... (Okay, not funny. Well, maybe just a little. No? Okay. Fine.)

But then suddenly, I eyed the coat closet in the hallway. The coat closet that has piles and piles of junk in it. The coat closet that I had searched twice that night.

I thought to myself, "Self, maybe you should actually move stuff out of the piles instead of pathetically searching on top."

So, I did. And I found:
  • 6 rolls of toilet paper, which would have come in handy on Saturday night when there were only a few sheets left, and I was too lazy to go to the store and forbade my husband to go number two until the groceries were delivered the next morning between 7 and 10
  • The pair of sandals that I bought at the beginning of the summer and immediately lost after the first time I wore them (notice a theme here???)
  • Three 6-month onesies that I bought for my daughter twelve months ago with the tags still on them. Whoops.
  • Two board books: Where is Baby's Belly Button and Good Night, Gorilla
  • A pair of toenail clippers...gross
  • Two chewed up rawhide chews (not sure if the canine or kid chewed them...gross either way)
  • And then...no...seriously...it can't be....my eyes must be playing tricks on me...it's a mirage...an oasis...NO...really? It's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then friends, I screamed so loud that the neighbors probably called the cops, and I raced upstairs and read the entire thing in one sitting.

And now I'm awake at 1:15 AM, deliriously typing this email wondering if I should write my review tonight while the emotions and details are swirling through my head or take a nice dose of Nyquil so I can get some sleep and actually function at work tomorrow. Because let me tell you, friends...this book is AMAZING. Powerful, funny, heartbreaking, hopeful, and there's no way I'm going to fall asleep on my own tonight. There's just way too much to think about.

Hmmm...maybe I will tell the library I lost it and offer up my next born child after all.

Naaah...the person who has requested it needs to get it and read it as soon as possible, so I'll return it tomorrow.

So, my librarian friends, there is a happy ending to this story. I will not hold my head in shame tomorrow but will instead proudly (and might I add, responsibly) slide The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian down the "returns" shoot and smile when I hear the satisfying thud of it hitting the pile of all of the other unlost, happily-returned books.

Now...how about some Nyquil?


  1. I am so glad you found your book (and other assorted goodies!) I have that book sitting on my table to return to the library.... but I have not read it. Now, I will take it off the table and put it back in my stack to read. (mine is not overdue :)
    library queen

  2. I think you'll it like Ms. Library Queen!

  3. too funny! I lost The Old Man and the Sea over a year ago and STILL have not found it ...

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  5. Well, if it makes you feel any better, the only reason I don't owe the library any money is because I work at one, and we get to waive our fines. :)

  6. That is a hilarious story! And exactly like something I would do. Except like Rose my fines are waived too, teehee, so there would have been slightly less stress. Glad you found it - and enjoyed it!

  7. Heather J.: I feel your pain. Did you get to at least read the book before you lost it?

    Rose and Darla: Seriously? Your fines are waived? I'm so jealous.

  8. Yup - and when you factor in all the fines we could be paying and add them to our salary, librarians actually make tons of money! :-)

  9. I have so done this before! My last lost book luckily was a magazine so my fine wasn't as much as compared to a book. It still hasn't surfaced. Recently, I returned a book but it wasn't checked in with the library. Before I had a chance to talk with the librarians it became overdue so I renewed it so I wouldn't have to pay a fine. They asked me why would I renew it if I swore I had already returned it? I was worried about the fine of course.

  10. I had a good reputation at my local library. No Coke spills, no beach sand, regular and timely borrower, you name it. And then I got the overdue notice. Moi? No way. I convinced our lovely librarian the system had glitched and came home satisfied. To find the book covered by a magazine under the coffee table.

    Moral dilemma. Should I preserve my totally undeserved but unsullied reputation, or return the book and eat humble pie.

    Anyone for a sliver of pie?

    Susan, The Book Chook

  11. Susan,

    It's o.k. to return the book. When you work at a library, you realize that overdue, lost, and damaged items happen to everybody. We love books and sometimes even we ruin them by accident. They will love you even more than they do now when you demonstrate your integrity. :)