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January 24, 2011

During my junior year of college, I was completing my Language and Literacy practicum at a local elementary school.  My partner and I designed what I still claim was a pretty stellar (as long as I was teaching it to students in someone else’s classroom) interdisciplinary unit using variations of The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  We checked out every single book at the main branch of the library that had anything to do with this story.  In fact, I’m fairly certain I maxed out the number of checkouts allowed at once.

The unit went along swimmingly well, with the books being dutifully returned.  Months passed.  A summer passed.  One fall night as I was walking into my dorm, I received a phone call informing me that a collection agency was after a debt I owed to the library in the amount of….a lot of money.  It turns out some of the books I checked out weren’t returned.  Mysterious.

A few weeks later, I got my car cleaned.  Apparently I should get my car cleaned more frequently, because the vacuum guy found some picture books beneath my passenger seat.  Those books were promptly returned, and my fine reduced to a mere $45.

Now, I love our public libraries.  What I don’t love is not being notified about missing/overdue books until I hear from a collection agency threatening to do murder to my credit.  That has been about 4 or 5 years at this point, and I have been essentially boycotting the public library, not wanting to pay this fine.

Co-workers have been telling me for months that there will be an opportunity for my fines to be forgiven by bringing in canned goods for Second Harvest Food Bank.

The time is now.

I suppose the boycott is over.

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