Library Woes Revisited

Remember this tale?

If not, or if you never read it, I beseech you to do so now, otherwise, this will be a confusing post.

Next, I am going to print the email I sent to the branch manager.

Hi Carrie,

 I was in your library (N. St. Paul) on Thursday night to pick up a holds request. My card was out of date and I handed over my ID to the staff member working. Two years ago, I moved from Washington County to Ramsey. I still have my Wash Co card. Your staff member insisted that I get a Ramsey county card. I protested this switch. I am a long time library user and I have had the same card since I first moved to Wash Co, more than 20 years ago. I keep updating my address, but the card and the card number have remained the same. 

In addition, I’ve registered my current card in all the 7 county area MELSA libraries, as well as several independent libraries. I am an avid library user and have my card number memorized. Given the fact that I go out of my way to keep my card current and use it heavily, it is a huge inconvenience for me to change to a new card. 

I tried explaining this to the staff member but he simply would not listen. His response “you have to have a card from where you live.” Clearly that is not true as I’ve lived in Ramsey Co for two years and still use my Wash Co card. Even with my unwillingness, he signed me up for a new library card, without my consent.

 I do not want this new card and I do not plan to use it. At one point he even said to me “I will allow you to keep the old card but you can’t use it here” as though he had some right to confiscate my library card. This is not acceptable.

 I rarely complain and do not wish to do so now. What I would like is for my old card to be updated with my new information and allowed to continue using my Wash Co card, correctly registered in Ramsey Co. As it is, I now have one card for six systems and four independent libraries and a separate card for Ramsey County.

 Can you please tell me how we can make this happen?

 Thank you, 


That was sent directly to the branch manager. I fully expected that she’d email me back and we’d solve the problem. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Two days after I emailed her, she called me. CALLED ME ON MY CELL PHONE. Aside from the grievous breach of etiquette in returning by email, there is the privacy issue as well. Yes, I use my cell phone as my only number, and yes, it is registered with my card, but that does not give her license to use it at will. She could have responded to my email to ask if we could talk via phone, but she did not. So, she had one strike against her going in. Well, two actually, because it should not have taken her two days to respond if she only had to pick up the phone.

While we spoke, she was condescending. She kept referring to complicated policy and repeating things over and over again, as though I couldn’t possibly understand. Never mind the fact that I am highly intelligent, I am also a librarian and incredibly familiar with all these policies, as I had already explained to her. However, she clearly had an agenda and a script in mind and she wasn’t willing to deviate.

Eventually, after more than ten minutes on the phone with her, I simply cut to the chase and said that I wanted my card reinstated in her system. She waffled and wavered and said she had to check with some people. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and she said it wasn’t likely she’d get back to me by the end of the day, but promised to call me no later than Monday the 26th with an answer.

Naturally, she didn’t call on Monday. Or Tuesday. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of the business day on Wednesday that she finally called, just to say “the answer is no.” She mentioned speaking with the director. And that’s it.

I was understandably and justifiably upset. What I am asking for, while it may not be strict policy, is not that big of a deal. It costs them nothing. It means a great deal to me.

I’ve been working on composing a letter. I’ve decided to go over her head and approach the library director. I am writing a personal appeal, which I will happily publish here, after I’ve finished it. I am honestly surprised that this is such a big deal. There is no reason under the sun why they should care. Or if there is, no one has shared it with me. It is as though they’ve dug in their heels on some imagined principle and just feel like they need to stand strong.

I promised to keep it updated and I will do so. Anyone else feeling like this is a bizarre reaction to a simple request?

We’ll see what happens next.