Today I got turned down for a library card. This is nothing new…I was turned down in Conroe, Texas as well, even though we stayed there for six months. I understood though. We weren’t officially residents.
But..We are residents of South Dakota. Specifically, our official government mailing address, the one on my passport and my driver’s license, the only place in the world that I am a actually a resident; is right down the street from the library…And they turned me down.
I was told their funding came from property taxes. So, even though we were residents, we couldn’t get a card because we didn’t pay property taxes.
“What about people who rent?” I asked in disbelief. “They don’t pay property taxes. Can they get a library card?”
They responded that it was their policy…I kind-of politely declined their offer to buy a non-resident library card and we left.
I know that I should let it go, but there are a few things that I feel very strongly about….
- Non-handicapped people parking in handicapped spots. (Seriously. You should be glad you can walk. Leave those spots for people that need them.)
Libraries are the Great Equalizer…
You don’t have to be rich or go to a fancy college or make friends with a scientist. You just have to have a valid address in the library’s district, and you have access to more information than you can hope to get through in a lifetime.
I have been in love with libraries since my frequent (like every other day) walks to the Tempe Public Library, where I would get books on everything from Greek gods to how to tie knots to large-print romance novels (don’t ask) to books on applying makeup (they were published in the 70’s but at least explained how things worked.)
Since then, I’ve supported libraries in little ways, starting with using my allowance for the quarterly library book sales. In 6th grade, my best friend and I co-wrote and performed a play for a History Day contest about the first library in Kansas. (Literally, our 15 minutes of fame.)
When my husband and I bought a house, we donated time and money to our local library because we knew, without a doubt, that it would go to a good home. Then, when we sold the house and hit the road, we gave them most of our DVD’s and all of our books.
Seriously…We love libraries. It is just a shame that this one didn’t love us back. 🙁
My One Consolation is That I Don’t Think I’ll Miss Much.
Since I really only use my library card for online access to audiobooks for Edison and I, I don’t think I’ll be missing much from the Sioux Falls online library.
I don’t have a ton of faith in the online inventory for a library that never took the time to update their Apple map citation to something other than “or Call Main Library”.
Update – The Library Called
Did I mention that I left a comment card? Well I did…It had my phone number, address (in Sioux Falls), and a short message about how it is discriminatory to deny me a library card, just because I don’t pay property taxes.
The woman who called was nice enough, but very firm about the policy. She said they “ran it by the ACLU and everything”. (Huh…Might ask my step-dad about that.)
The upshot is that if I was in jail or had a subsidized apartment or was crashed at my friend’s pad indefinitely; as long as I did it in their district, then I could get a library card.
But, having our residency here isn’t enough. Our 50 square inches of rental space may not be much, but we’ve never missed a payment. We paid to register our business here. We pay for our mail forwarding service, insurance, vehicle registration, and drivers licenses here. And, your kids benefit from the public school funding that our son isn’t using. Doesn’t that count for something?
That’s it…I’m done now. Still a little steaming, but finished.