Separate and Unequal Libraries.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm feeling slightly discriminated.

We live in North Salt Lake, Utah. It's about a whooping 10 minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City- which is wonderful. I love living close enough to the capitol that it's not stressful to join in during events, but far enough away that I don't have to listen to sirens in the middle of the night. Ten minutes from the heart of Salt Lake is perfect for me.

But that ten minutes is the difference between using the state of the art, gigantic public library located downtown, and using one that smells like cat pee.

I TRIED to use the Salt Lake Library. I even brought my utility bill to them and everything. But they told me I didn't live in Salt Lake county. They told me MY library was the one 15 minutes away from my house instead of 10. They told me if I wanted to use THEIR library I would have to pay them $80 a year.

For $80 a year, I'd just BUY every book I wanted to read thankyouverymuch.

So, begrudgingly, I ventured to the Bountiful library. It's book selection is about the size of my pinky. It's walls are a mix of brick and that faux wood from the '70's. It has flickering lights. Even the newest books are dirty and look old. It smells bad. I went there once, got my library card and hadn't gone back.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, Georgia and I took our first "just us" trip to the Bountiful library because I wanted some summer reads. I had a list of seven books to get.
The library had one of them. ONE.

Georgia was so upset about this that she began to wail down aisle P-S. I did not have much to comfort her with since I was pretty upset about it myself.

We gathered our feminine emotions, however, and went to check out when I realized that in all my preparation, I had forgotten my library card. And my driver's license. Don't worry- I had my wallet with my BYU-Idaho ID and an old Blockbuster card, but nothing of real importance. I explained to the librarian that this was my first time out with my baby and that I had just gotten a little frazzled.

I was expecting this librarian to tell me to get out of her library and "don't come back without a card." In my experience, most librarians are kind of uptight and protective of library policy. I was imagining this would be no different since she worked in a place that smelled like pee.

But instead, she smiled. And laughed. And told me all about when she helped her sister take the twins to the grocery store. All the while, she looked up my account and let me check out two books. She congratulated me and wished me a very nice day.

I bet the snotty SLC librarians wouldn't have done that. I bet they would have made me pay. I bet they would have told me to shut up my baby and take her back to Davis county where she belongs.

So while I despise how small my local library is, I am grateful that a.) I have one at all and b.) that the people who work there are reasonable.


  1. Carrie you seriously put a smile on my face evey time I read one of your stories! You crack me up! I'm happy to hear that things are going well though! :) don't worry, going out with a baby begins to get easier and then one day you'll think "I don't ever remember going out withOUT my baby" until you get to go out on your very first date childless, lol. At which point youll probably be a frazzled mess cuz you'll be so worried about her the whole time anyways, lol. ;) don't worry, it really does become easier. Keep the good and funny stories comin, I look forward to them!

  2. We are frequenters of the Bountiful library, and YES IT STINKS like cat pee! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed. I think the lower floor with all the kids books is the worst though. They do have lots of great kids books though and for that I am so grateful. When Georia gets a little older they have toddler story/activity time too! I actually thought that they were kind of uptight about their rules. For instance, I accidently left my library card there once. They called to tell me, and by the time I got there to pick it up, they said it had been destroyed. Whaaaa? The other davis county libraries do not have the same policy. I could on with other examples but this is getting ridiculously long. Good job leaving the house, that is a difficult feat early on!


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