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In Milwaukee Buzz Blogs

The library found me


It had been a long, long time since I had been to the public library. Looking to kill some time before going to the office, and needing to get some other things done, I thought I would drop in on the Central Library Downtown to look around (In my 29 years in Milwaukee, I've never been there) and pick up a library card.

So much for that.

The clerk took my drivers license and a second form of photo identification (a photo ID is needed to check out books, but not to vote ... ) and she began processing my application. That's where things took a turn.

"Sir," she said with the seriousness of an airport security agent. "You had a card before, sir, and it was revoked due to non-return of books."

I was puzzled, and asked when. She informed me the delinquent articles were checked out in the mid 1990s, and my account carries fines of roughly $75.

My address has changed about six times since high school, my phone number at least a dozen. She didn't have my Social Security number, either. So, in the end, I unwittingly gave myself up, ending my life on the lam. I offered to settle my account on the spot. Alas, I didn't have cash and the library doesn't take credit cards.

On a whim, I'm going to head back to my mom's house this week and see if the articles in question are sitting around my old bedroom somewhere. I'll still pay the fine, but I'm curious as to what it is I checked out (that wasn't listed in the computer).

I am embarrassed. It's like the "Seinfeld" episode without the goofy library cop character. The lesson here, folks, is the library apparently is pretty good at keeping track of things. If you think you owe them, settle your affairs now before they come find you.


Talkbacks

CurlerLikeYou | Jan. 23, 2008 at 3:45 p.m. (report)

You're actually correct about the lack of a voter ID. Every time I go to the polls I am still appalled...I could go vote as ANYONE. Go to someone's mailbox mid-day, pick up the mail to check the name, and go to the polls. Heck, I could go vote as you. Ridiculous.

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Willia | Jan. 17, 2008 at 11:18 a.m. (report)

I'm guessing that theft/non-return of library items is a more common problem than voter fraud, hence the ID policy. And the library didn't find him--he went to it!

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TheyThink | Jan. 17, 2008 at 11:13 a.m. (report)

But don't talk about passing a law requiring an ID card to vote because you'll be labeled a racist!

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Murphy | Jan. 17, 2008 at 10:15 a.m. (report)

I recently found out that my library card I've had since age 6 expired. This was after about a 5 year hiatus of mine, including moving away for College. I had to reapply for a card, which now includes a 3 week "probationary" period, no CD's or DVD's. I felt like I got caught stealing or something when they told me I couldnt check out the great selection of CDs I had just picked out for the last hour. Luckily I didn't have any outstanding items like you.

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Reader | Jan. 17, 2008 at 9:11 a.m. (report)

Scary and crazy. It's easier to vote in Milwaukee, no I.D. needed at the polling places -- but try to take out a book and look out!

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