Because a simple stated "Please do not remove" sounds a little too much like a suggestion. They may as well write "Maybe if you feel like it and it's not too much trouble how about you don't take this tag off, mmmmkay?"

I'm talking about the interlibrary loan tag that came affixed to my library book. It was large and hot pink and awkwardly stapled into place, so of course I removed it. I have OCD. I needed to remove it, it was practically beyond my control.

Well, turns out that when they say "Please do not remove" they, um... well, they really mean that. Like, a lot.


So I returned my interlibrary loan book without the tag and now it's gone forever. No, really. It's lost. I've lost - permanently - a library book.

If you know me at all, you'll know this hurts my very heart. I love love love the public library. One of the first thing I did when we moved to Champlin from Boston was to locate and sign up with the public library. I think libraries are amazing places: you walk in, and they give you FREE BOOKS. If you love books as much as I do, you can't help but be truly appreciative. It's like Christmas any day of the week.

But still, that florescent pink tag bothered me.

So I ripped it off.

And now that book is gone. No one else can ever read it! (Small dramatization.) It's been put into a book sale because it sat in the lost and found for so long. Turns out, all library systems have different bar codes that don't cross-communicate. So that tag they place on the interlibrary loan book is the only method the library has for keeping track of it and returning it to its rightful home. When they can't do that, they toss it into the lost and found and eventually, into the book sale racks.

Now, the fact that so many systems are in place in order for me to have gotten my sticky little hands on that book in the first place makes me cringe when I think of how disrespectfully I then treated it. I think it's fabulous that you can walk into your library and get books, but it's absolutely fantastic that you can go online from your library and gain access to any other county's books too.

I offered to pay for the lost book, but librarians are so freakin' nice that of course the woman I spoke with assured me it was fine, not to worry. She did mention, with her hand gently placed on mine, that the tag specifically mentions not removing it. Despite her kindness I slunk out the doors and frowned all the way home.

So this is another cautionary tale brought to you by Elle Charlie. Those mattresses tags? The tags on your furniture and pillows? The ones that say "Do not remove under penalty of law"? Maybe don't remove them. I'm extrapolating out from my experience, but I will from now on not remove ANY tag that suggests otherwise. I think you should do the same thing. Out of respect. For the library. Do it for the public library, that beacon against illiteracy and inequity. All together now, say it with me. "For the libary!!!"

(Also, don't doggie ear your pages. It's just rude. Not that I do that... But if I did I would now stop, on account of my recent eye-opening experience. Just use a bookmark - it's better for everyone.)



Anonymous said...

Duly noted. :) Funny though, B and I have a trip to the library on our to-do list for the day. Any suggestions for a must-read or two?

It seems like every blanket, towel, toy, sheet, etc. of B's that is made of some material has those "do not remove under penalty of law" tags. I was just telling j last night that it feels like I've been ripping tags off constantly for the last month. Do we really need to know that it's made of "all new materials"? I feel sorry for whoever buys something that says it's made of "reused materials". ;o)

12:23 PM
Debbi said...

For the library. Good advice.

12:34 PM
Laura said...

"For the Library!" I totally agree with you.. I love the library. I love going there when I have a couple hours to spare and just wondering around finding new obscure books and trying them out. And I absolutely hate it when people make dog ears in the books... why would you do that?!

1:23 PM
Bina said...

I love the library, too. There is no telling how many books I have read from that place. And if they don't have a new release, I will buy it, read it, and then donate it. It's the least I can do for the amount of money they have saved me in loaning me books so I didn't have to buy them!

And man, I hate when I get a book that people have dog eared. How rude is that????

I don't understand why I can't remove lables from furniture and pillows. I do it just because it tells me not to, and I bought it, so I will remove it!! LOL

1:40 PM
Crys :D said...

Wha? there are tags on mattresses and pillows that say "DO NOT REMOVE"?? why wouldn't you want to remove them? aren't they choking hazards? Not that i have removed them, government, I haven't. they're still there. I won't put the tags in my mouth. but still. weird.

2:55 PM
Fertilized said...

You poor thing!

5:34 PM
seussgirl said...

Awe, poor little library book. :( But look at it this way, someone ended up with a great book in the library sale! At least, if it was a great book?

I also love libraries, and I consider my occasional late fee (I have one running now that was due 3/31 - oops!) my donation to the library. :)

6:47 PM
Bob said...

Okay...the mattress and pillow tags are for the sellers (retailers) NOT to remove. Once you've purchased them, YOU, the buyer CAN remove the tags. Just not the ones on the library books.

I love libraries and would never censor a book in the library, but I absolutely HATE when the American Library Association censors books. Oh, yes they do.

10:46 PM
Mommy (That's my name, don't wear it out.) said...

Ooooooh I LOVE the library too! Just interlibrary loaned one myself and eeeek! was there a pink tag? Oh no! I better go check... panic.

Love your blog- best wishes with the clomid- I've had lots of friends have great things happen with it! ;)

2:32 PM
shopgirl said...

Oh I'm soooo jealous of your NICE library! You didn't even have to pay for the book? Geezz, my library has a "COP" in it at all times and when the new "puppers" chewed my library book? - I had to BUY the book at $25!!! I mean, she only chewed the cover a little - it could have been salvaged!! Also? If I knew I was going to have to buy it? Iwould have went to Borders with my COUPON and gotten it for LESS than $25!!

I love the library too - it's sad mine isn't so nice...

6:22 PM
~Virginia~ said...

i always wondered about those stickers--i think i've removed one at one point in time, too. whoops.

i agree about the dog-ears...i have a steady stash of bookmarks.

4:40 PM