The Library

She enjoyed going to the Queen’s Public Library every evening on the way back home from class. The experience was so different from the libraries in India that initially she was too overwhelmed to understand the rules & timings of the library. She would end up going there on a Holiday or after hours or something. Soon however she got the hang of it and was comfortable in the library. She was perhaps the only one who consistently took the entire 25 items allowed at one time for a member! This included books, magazines, audiobooks, music cds and dvd movies.

Each visit was a learning experience for her. Her only issue was the long queues at the counter for taking & returning items. Standing for so long with a bunch of books and other stuff (no bags allowed inside the gate) sapped all her energy and the long walk home thereafter was made all the more difficult. She started wondering why there was no easier way to return items and that’s when she realized there was another counter near the gate which had a huge machine which looked like a scanner and a slot beneath it. She was not too sure how it worked and found it embarrassing to ask someone about it.

One day she came to return a book and seeing the unusually long queue decided to use the counter. The annoying thing was that all the other queues were facing this particular counter and therefore everyone in the queue could see what one did at this particular counter. This made her jittery and uncomfortable. Feeling very self conscious she walked up to the counter and placed the book under the scanner as she had seen others do and pressed the start button. She saw the scan in progress signal and got a small slip of paper which looked like a receipt. Wondering what just happened, she took the slip and read the small print.

It said ‘Your book has been succesfully renewed for another 3 weeks. Thanks’.

She was so amused at herself that she almost let out a loud laugh but stopped herself just in time. Suddenly someone who was waiting behind her excused herself and pushed her book into the slot beneath the counter. So that was it !!

Renewal happened on the scanner and books being returned were put into the slot. All she had to do was push her book into the slot but realizing that all the people in the queue were watching her with curiousity she calmly smiled to herself and walked out gracefully with the book in one hand and her renewal slip in the other. Once she had walked round the corner of the street, she laughed her heart out and walked home vowing to return the book the very next day!!

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