I’m a Library Cheater

It’s time to come clean with you guys. I’m doing something that’s so terrible, so horrible that I might have to have my librarian status revoked. Seriously, you will not be able to believe what a terrible person I am. So prepare yourself. Take a deep break. Okay.

I’m cheating on my local library. *gasp*

I know! I know!!! What kind of monster am I?

It gets worse. I’m using a serious loophole in the system to use multiple libraries. Eek.

So here’s the deal. We moved back to my hometown in March, literally in the first week of the Covid outbreak here in Texas. We’re in a major metropolitan area, but the suburb I’m living in operates its own library. Its own small library. Much, MUCH smaller than the big city library my previous town was in a consortium with. What can I say? I’m a spoiled brat.

But the thing is, there’s nothing (that I know of) in my old library’s policies requiring me to renew my card or prove residency again. So … I just kept using it? But no, it’s worse. Because that would be ridiculous, we moved quite far from my old town. Instead I’m using my library card for a city literally an hour away to access the nearest branch of the big-city library they’re affiliated with. I order books from all over the consortium and make my husband pick them up and drop them off on his way home from work.

Send all the shame my way.

But I want to support my local library, so I got a library card there too. And I do check out older titles when they have them. And my kids get books from that library as well!

So, yes. I am using two libraries at once by shamelessly exploiting a loophole to access a huge-ass library (and the rest of the giant consortium!) for a city I don’t live or work in.

What makes all of this feel even ickier is that since none of these libraries are actually open, all of these transactions are happening via drive-thru service. It’s like having an affair in the back of your car because you can’t be bothered to get a hotel. What is wrong with me???

This post was mostly meant to be silly, but in all seriousness when this shinanigans with Covid is over I need to come clean and pay the $50 a year for a non-resident card. Except it doesn’t include books from the consortium. OH THE HORROR!

What terrible things do you do in the name of getting books in your hands? Let me know in the comments, if you dare.

48 thoughts on “I’m a Library Cheater

  1. I currently belong to four libraries in three states and am plotting on joining the fifth. I have also been itching to join the sixth and seventh but would have to involve family in me schemes. I would actually pay a non-resident fee for all of them to access their ebook content but these libraries don’t offer them. I sometimes feel guilty but then embrace me pirate nature. Arrrr! Is it any better when I review every book I read?
    x The Captain

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whew, glad to know I’m not the only one! I think the fact that you’re reviewing all the books and influencing others to pick them up does affect the balance on the cosmic level, but it’s not helping that library’s funding at all, lol.

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    2. This is funny to me because this is one of the things the Macmillan CEO was citing as reasons they needed to embargo their titles for libraries (people joining 500 libraries in different states to “cheat!”) and I was like…very few people do that. As you point out, it’s a bit of effort!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That reminds me that I have never told the other library that I moved away. I moved away from my hometown a couple of years ago and moved back last year. So I basically have an account in two libraries. But since the other one doesn’t even ask for annual fees, I don’t feel like it’s a problem. Or do you think they are just waiting all forlorn for me to come and pick up a book? Wait. Do they?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know! I don’t think they usually worry too much about inactive accounts. Most people don’t close their accounts down when they move away I would guess. But I’m not a public librarian so I don’t know for sure how that works.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, the shame, Katie. You’ll become addicted to the thrill. 😉

    Found you via The Orangutan Librarian. So glad I did, loved this post. Can’t wait to read more of your stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think libraries who are really against this sort of thing require members to prove their residency more often. My hometown library seemed to be asking me to prove I still lived there every single year, and I know from people who worked here that they were touchy about who could join in other ways. Then I moved somewhere else and got a card and they told me I didn’t have to renew it (prove my residency) for four years. Another library in that area would accept literally anything as “proof of residency,” including people logging into their smartphone and showing an Amazon account with a local address, which obviously you could just make up on the spot if you wanted. So my guess is that if your former library really cares about “cheating,” they will ask members to renew their cards frequently. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I doubt that the library I moved away from would care, you’re right. But the big-city library they’re affiliated with DEFINITELY does. I used to be a resident in that city many and many a year ago, and they required residency removal every year, if I remember correctly.

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  5. Ahh you made me laugh XD. Well… I also borrow books from 2 libraries but nothing illegal (lol) because I can actually do it! Basically, I live in the suburb of a metropolitan area too and I borrow books from my local library and from the big city. But here’s the thing: the big city actually allows the residents of the suburban cities to do it (because they are part of the same metropolitan area)… so YEAHHH.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may be a member of a consortium. I was! Sadly my new town is not a member of a consortium, pout. The big city does allow non-residents to become members, but they charge a fee. I’m happy to pay the fee, but they still haven’t opened for anything other than drive-thru service since Covid shelter-in-place began.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah probably! Oh okay, so bad your town is not part of a consortium. I really hope things will start getting back to normal (or at least close to normal) once the pandemic is contained. I honestly can’t wait for this whole Covid situation to be over.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Huh? What’s wrong with this?

    When I lived in a large metro area, I went to our little neighborhood library AND would drive 20 – 30 minutes to go to the “good” one (also in the city system) that had a bigger everything section and a terrific park associated with it. I think they both appreciated the traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was thinking about doing this with my old library to! But it’s 2 1/2 hours away one way with no traffic and I might cheat on my library but I absolutely can’t justify the gas right now? Otherwise I’d be a serial library adulterer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If I am being completely honest…I still use my library card from the library I worked at to get digital materials even though I moved all the way across the country… BUT I did get two library cards in AZ once I moved here (my “home” library and one from the library I work at). At least in my experience here in AZ, having multiple library cards in encouraged. But I have never seen that anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, and you WORK there. I honestly don’t think any of the librarians would be particularly mad at me if they found out (a lot of them would probably laugh) but I really should change my card to a non-resident card and pay the fee. That’s their policy. *shrug*

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  9. Wait is having multiple library cards not something someone should do lol? I think in my state the only qualification to have a library card is a state drivers license or ID, not the city or anything but idk. I’ve had my library card for my local library for like 10 years (it’s still a kids card lmao all bright colors and doodles) and have never had to prove residency, and I also of course check out books from my university library, and my brother uses our local library, his university library, and the public library by his university so I think right now we have books from like 4 libraries in our house? not to mention interlibrary loan… guess I’m a library cheater too lmaooo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends on the library and their policy! It’s fine to have multiple library cards, and definitely most public libraries open their up to students at the university. I mostly wrote the post to be a bit silly, you know, faux-outrage. It’s not *actually* upsetting. But the right thing to do would be to pay the non-resident fee once Covid lets me back in.

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  10. LOL Oh this post just cracked me up. I am lucky to be part of a library, while not in a big city, has a great selection of the genre that I love to read in. But I also pay every year to be part of the Brooklyn Library which has one of the largest selections in the country for the genre I prefer. I hold no shame for what I do…and you shouldn’t either. As long as you support the library, what does it matter? hehe Although at one time, I was part of like five libraries in my state. My university, two of the cities I live closest two, a small town where I went to college and the big city north of us. We all do these, just some of us are more honest than others about it.

    Thanks for sharing. Got a kick outta it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you got it! My sense of humor doesn’t always come across via internet, lol. My plan is to pay to use this library, much like you do with Brooklynn, the library just hasn’t opened since the Covid lock-down began for anything but drive-thru. Most of my guilt/shame is pretend for the sake of humor, haha.

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  11. Katie! I’m shocked. Hahaha. I don’t think I’ve ever done a scandalous thing to get books, mainly because where I live the government is so strict about libraries I don’t have a chance. I know what you’re thinking: what government has time to be strict about books? Apparently, mine. I actually went to get a library card for the city library a year ago, and found out I had one there when I was a child. They still had the information. (This is at least eight years ago.) And it turns out, I had some overdue books on that old card. Katie, they STILL made me pay the fine, which was about $3.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol. Every library has different rules. In the case of the big library I’m using I can get a non-resident card, but I need to speak to a human being and they’re still drive-thru only right now.

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  12. Hehehe… well, if there were libraries in my country that had books in English, I would probably feel like a cheater as well. However, there aren’t any! So… I have contacted publishers DIRECTLY to ask for ARCs of books I want to read and review! Yes, I have. Four times. Got three okays and one sorry, we can’t! That’s pretty good, right? Hehehehehe!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, you do you! I don’t feel like it is so much work, but I can see how some might not want the pressure of feeling you have to write a review. I don’t always, if a book isn’t good. And it is great that you read older titles – I wish I could read more myself. But like I said, no libraries makes doing that much harder (or too expensive)!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I support using both! I use a library card for my home town and one from my college town…in different states. But it gives me more Libby checkouts! Feel no shame!

    If you feel bad, maybe donate to the library you technically aren’t a resident for, since you don’t count towards the taxes they get paid?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. As a fellow library cheater, I cackled. As a former circulation staff member, I groaned. I mean, we’re supposed to encourage patrons to find ways around barriers and use what they need, right? RIGHT? There might be a circle of hell reserved for us, but for right now, I’m trying to exist, learn, and entertain myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The absolute worst part of this business is *whispers* I’m a librarian. So I’m acutely aware of JUST HOW unethical my actions are. Explanation, I’m a librarian at an elementary school, and it’s not like I can borrow The Fifth Season from my school, lol.

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  15. I used to download books, when I lived in France with a person who kept me from going anywhere, in Spanish or French (as I was also denied access to my savings or shared money), read them, and then post the book reviews on at least three sites: a Spanish or French language book review site, GR, and either here or on FB, in order to ‘repay’ my debt for having downloaded the book. I still feel a bit bad, but it was so important to keeping my mind intact as I planned to get away from there…

    Liked by 1 person

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