Top 5 Reasons Why I LOVE Library Fines

by Janelle Franz

(The Library is so grateful for enthusiasts who are occasionally willing to do guest posts.  This gives our readers a whole other perspective into library usage and value.)

This post originally appeared on Invent Your Story.  See the original post here.  (Seriously, check it out.  The blog is super fun!)  So, without further ado, and with great thanks, here is Janelle’s blog post about the Library:


The library. I’m not always a person of great focus or grounding, but when it comes to my local library, I can commit. I carry the free canvas bag from this year’s summer reading program kickoff. A library swag mug hosts my coffee most mornings. I had to beat the crowds to be one of the first 100 people to sign-up and win that puppy.

I’m not joking.

I commit.

That’s why I have five legit reasons to love library fines. If you currently have a library fine and feel like yuck about it, STOP NOW. Read. My. List.



Reason # 1:

You went to the library.

Pat yourself on the back. Like yourself on Facebook. Give me a virtual hug and high five, because you took time to enrich your life FOR FREE with books and programs found only at the local library. You’re a smarty-pants. Admit it. And you want more out of life.

Reason #2:

You checked out a book too long. 

Did you read it twice? Never finish it? Never open it? As I write this, I have four library books in my truck, two more at home, and some in oblivion. Whatever happened to your book – you checked out a BOOK! (Or a movie you’re not afraid to tell your mom about.) You didn’t hang out on a computer all day or linger in the land of indecision. You went for gold – and you got it. Extra-long. It’s worth the couple dollars or cents to invest the time at home learning something valuable and new.

Reason #3:

You now have camaraderie. 

The first time I paid a library fine, the clerk assured me, “Don’t worry. I work here, and I still get them.” The second time I paid a library fine, a different clerk assured me, “I’m here every day, and I forget too.” Welcome to the club of imperfect, yet pretty fantastic people who use the library. My best walk-of-shame was when I returned a school library book to the public library, and they gave it back to me saying, “it happens all the time.”

Reason #4:

Your mom couldn’t give you a better fine.

If your car is parked on the wrong piece of asphalt too long, you’re going to get a decent fine. If you’re speeding or your tail-light is out, you’re going to get a hefty fine. If you overdraw your bank account five bucks, you’re going to pay back much more for your mistake. But keeping a library book too long? That’s like mom saying, “If you use bad language, you’re going to have to put a quarter in the swear jar.” Okay, mom. Fair enough.

Reason #5:

You can now invent something new. 

Because inventing is kind-of my thing – whether it’s making up a story, creating art, or constructing fun inventions that enrich kids’ imagination and learning – to have a problem like a library fine is a great opportunity to invent a solution. You can make a library book box and decoupage the outside. You can do a calendar countdown between trips. There are a lot of fun ways to keep your family library-fine free with some ingenuity.

But, at the end of the day, if you still have a library fine, don’t sweat it. Go talk to your local librarian about it, and they’ll probably cheers your coffee mug. Sure, it’s twenty-five cents in their pocket. They’ll probably use it to better the community somehow. In the meantime, remember this:

You didn’t have to put it in the swear jar.

Top 10 Fictional Librarians

by Britney

Hello to all of you out there in Library Land!  It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and we’ve been ridiculously busy here at the ANBL.  But that’s an awesome thing!  Summer is winding down (I know many of you may be disappointed about this, but not I, because I ❤ FALL), and we are starting to gear up for new programs and offerings – all things we hope our patrons will love!

Some of you know that in addition to the Library’s blog, I also maintain a personal blog in which I discuss reading, writing, and other bookish and creative-type things.  I do a weekly “Top 10 Tuesday” post, and recently did one that I had a ton of fun putting together.  It’s totally relevant to libraries, so I’m going to share it with you here.

If you’d like to see the original post, or are interested in books, seeing reviews, or reading about all manner of creative things, you can catch that on my blog Inkblot Ideas here.

So, without further ado, here are my picks for


In my heart, I’ve always been a librarian of one sort or another.  When I was a child, I grouped my nonfiction books together by subject (I was BISAC before BISAC was cool).  I made spine labels by author’s last names for my fiction books.  My books were shelved alphabetically, according to author.  Yes it’s true – I’m a total nerd.  And I own it.

Also, I grew up to be a librarian.  So I’m walking, talking, sometimes-both-at-the-same-time living proof that dreams can come true.  (Note the subtle difference between can and do – unfortunately it’s not always the case, but I’m a firm believer in doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals, so here I am.)

Librarians are near and dear to my heart.  Being a librarian is a noble calling.  And so, in their honor…  Here are my choices for my TOP 10 FAVORITE FICTIONAL LIBRARIANS.

Evie Carnahan O’Connell (The Mummy)

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I love Evie so much, I can’t even.  She is seriously awesome.  She’s English, but loves all things Egyptian, so literally packs up and moves to Egypt so she can work in the library at the Cairo museum.  She’s a brilliant scholar, and actually reads the books in the library, so she knows things others don’t.  She’s brave and clever, and doesn’t let anyone get in her way.  She literally saves the world.

Barbara Gordon (Batman)

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Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is a force to be reckoned with.  Not only is she a smart and savvy librarian, she’s also Batgirl.  Shhhh!  She is educated and career-oriented, and is an effective crime-fighter.  I mean, Batman doesn’t even have to spend most of his time saving her from the bad guys (Daphne, I’m looking at you right now…)  She’s very focused on employing the best means to an end, even if that means heads gotta’ roll to get things done.

Flynn Carson (The Librarian)

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Oh, my <3.  There aren’t even words to describe how I feel about THE Librarian (Flynn Carson is THE Librarian, not those young, whippersnapper upstarts.  Though, to be fair, I do like them, too.  I’m just being clear about the hierarchy within the Library, as far as I’m concerned.)  Flynn is the best superhero ever, because he isn’t a superhero, not even a little bit.  He’s a bumbling, adorable, trip-over-his-own-feet-and-fall-into-unicorn-glitter dork who is absolutely brilliant, and when he’s home by himself in his Underoos pretends he’s Indiana Jones.

Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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Giles is just… awesome.  Sunnydale is literally the high school from (on?) hell, and this guy guards the gates.  Officialy Buffy’s “Watcher” (see: babysitter who is tasked with keeping her from doing all manner of idiotic things), Giles is a mentor, protector, and friend.  I appreciate his sass (which is master-level to stack up against teenagers), his smarts, which are unparalleled because he actually reads the books in the library, and his insistence on the strict observance of tea time (being British, after all…)

Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony)

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LIVES in a library inside a tree, whaaat?  Twilight Sparkle is an unabashed, unapologetic book nerd who (at least initially) prefers books to ponies.  She curates a collection of rare and magical books, familiarizing herself with their content.  And it’s a good thing, too, because she gets everypony out of all sorts of road apples with her smarts ALL THE TIME.  Let me just say one more time: lives in a library.  Like, gets to sleep there, too.  #jealous

Zoe Heriot (Doctor Who)

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Two words: space librarian.  SPACE LIBRARIAN!  I feel like a mic drop is called for, but I’m not done writing this post, so…  We’ll just have to go with there’s no way to top that.  So, Zoe is the librarian on a space station that the Doctor visits.  (Because of course even people traveling to different planets need to get their Patterson fix too.)  And as if her job isn’t cool enough to sustain her for the rest of her life she needs more adventure and stows away on the TARDIS.  Seriously, Zoe Heriot is my spirit animal.

Jocasta Nu (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away were the Jedi Archives, the galaxy’s greatest repository of knowledge, and Jocasta is the curator of that collection.  I can just see her shushing Obi-Wan when he starts waxing eloquent about something or another.  Hella wise Jedi Master Librarian. #goals  Think about it: this is who Master Yoda comes to when he needs to Google something.  Yeah, just let that thought settle.

Lucien (The Sandman)

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The chief librarian of The Dreaming, Lucien lives in an abandoned castle in Transylvania guarding its ancient library.  And he has a pet werewolf named Rover.  Wholly devoted to his task no matter what, Lucien curates a collection of books that contain all the Dreams ever dreamed, including even the ones which have never been written.  And even though he looks like a “typical” librarian – nerdy, thin and wispy with glasses – he can hold his own in a fight.

Bunny Watson (Desk Set)

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The age-old battle of Librarian vs. Computer.  Bunny Watson does what every self-respecting librarian has threatened to do at least a dozen times in their career – sets the computer to self-destruct.  And then proves to everyone around her that people are better than machines.  And she isn’t sorry at all, not one little bit.  This smart and sassy New Yorker isn’t letting technology replace her or make her obsolete.  Take note, fellow librarians.

Belle (Once Upon A Time)

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Tale as old as time: girl falls for boy because of his library…  In the classic (see: Disney) version of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Belle is a bookwork and loses herself in the Beast’s library to help her forget that she’s a captive who is stuck in a mad castle with a horrible creature and talking furniture.  That library, though…  It almost makes it worth it.  Here, though, in Storybrooke, Belle has it a little better – she’s the Lone Ranger in the town’s library which is in an awesome clocktower.  And where does she go every time another curse comes to town (the purple one, the green one, the red one…)?  The library, of course.  Because books are magic, and have the power to neutralize bad juju.

So, there you have it!  YAY, librarians!  Who is/are your favorite fictional word curators?  Chat with me in the comments!

Enabling My Obsession

by Melody

Have you ever wandered into a bookstore or library and sniffed the books? It’s weird, but… I love the smell of books. I realize this is a bit odd…what can I say? Books are in my blood. They are the comfort when someone wants to escape reality. They are the story that wants to break free from their own pages and burst into the mind of the reader. What kind of fantasy world or dramatic story is hiding behind that interesting front cover? I’d like to think I feel this kind of excitement after I check out a new book. (Note: I’m a fiction girl.)

I was one of those kids that didn’t play school, or teacher, or house. I played LIBRARY. As a child, I would gather all of my books, get lined paper and a pencil, and tape or glue in pockets for library due date cards. Not actual due date cards but pieces of paper that would say the date and time of when the book was “checked out”. I loved playing library and I loved my books even more.

My obsession with written words only grew after that. Once I turned eighteen and started working at our wonderful Belding Library, I knew books were in my blood. I started collecting, buying, reading, and checking out more and more books. I’m one of those people that takes a book everywhere for almost every occasion (just in case I don’t want to talk to people. Ha!). Even while shopping, it is very strange for me to not come home with a purchased book.

I’ve worked at the Belding Library for around fourteen years, and my favorite room is the fiction room. My obsession with books has never stopped and I doubt it ever will. I’m extremely thankful for my Belding Library which enables me to be obsessed and check out as many books as I can. (Okay, really the limit is like a hundred, but I don’t need to check out THAT many…)

So, take a break from your busy schedule, and stop by the Library to check out a book. It’ll be worth it. You never know what kind of world you might find yourself in.

I Don’t Know, But I Can Find Out

by Kristen

Remember back in Kindergarten, when we were all taught to share? Share your toys, share your crayons, share everything except your cooties… Of course you do. Well, librarians will always have to remember that little tip. Share, share, share. Librarians share knowledge and resources on a daily basis, not only with eath other, but with patrons. Patrons come in and have something terribly pressing that they need to learn about. The truth? We don’t know everything about everything.  But… we don’t need to know everything about every topic. What we do need to know is a resource that can help us find the answers, whether it is a coworker, a librarian from another library, a book, or simply Google.


I have been working in libraries for almost three years, now. Whereas to me, this seems like a long time, compared to my coworkers and other library professionals, this is truly only a short amount of time. Although sometimes I would like to pretend that I put on a cap of knowledge and know every answer to every question, and say that all of the information I have ever helped patrons with, throughout this time, was my doing, it would be an entirely false statement. So I won’t even pretend that I knew everything. The best part about that? It’s okay!

Patrons come in and want to know which banks were open in Belding in 1903, who the best cardiac electrophysiologist in the world is, which type of geranium grows the quickest, how many rivers in Michigan connect to the Grand River… The list goes on and on. To tell you the truth, off of the top of my head, I don’t know the answer to any of the questions I just listed. However, I could find out the answer to each of them. (Except, perhaps not whom the best cardiac electrophysiologist in the world is; that’s partially an opinion-based question. *Sigh.*)

I think the most valuable knowledge I have learned, so far, is what I have learned from my coworkers. Whenever I have been stumped by a question, I know I can always look to my peers for help. Between all of us, and our trust in Google (ha!), we can come up with an answer.

So, the next time you are stumped, stop by and hit us with the hardest question you can think of; it’s what we are here for!  And if we don’t know the answer, we can find it!