Dear Maggie – February 22, 2024

Dear Maggie —

I think I could use some clarification.  My son came home yesterday saying he needed $50 for his library book fare!  Exsqueeze me?!?!  I didn’t think the school library charged late fees and definitely didn’t think it would be something as hefty as $50! How many books would you have to check out and how late would they have to be to be fined that much?  I have SO many follow up questions (none of which he seemed to have answers for 🙄).  I am happy to donate a dollar here and there for a dress down day or bake sale, but this feels like highway robbery.  I have a feeling I am missing some vital information here; maybe you could shed some light on what’s going on in the library, please?  Am I going to have to get a 2nd job to be able to afford his pricey reading habit or what?

— Penniless Patricia

Dear Penniless —

I’m not sure where the $50 amount came from, but I do think I know what’s going on here… your son isn’t talking about a book f-a-r-e; he’s talking about the book F-A-I-R.  The Scholastic Book Fair that’s being put on by the SMOS library to be exact.  You may have seen the posters all around school and a flier should have come home or will soon with all the details. 

Honestly, I always felt a pang of jealousy when the book fair came to my kid’s school; it was of course called the Ye Old Scholastic Scroll Fair back then.  I never got to attend one as a child; girls didn’t go to school back in my day 😔.  But, from what I can tell, things haven’t changed much in the last several thousand years when it comes to a book fair’s bread and butter.  These days kids go bananas for a fuzzy journal – we just had journals made of stone; they love fidgets – instead, we had pebbles; and now they have corvette posters – we just had a stone slab with the latest chariot etched onto it.  Are you seeing the theme here – lots of rocks – it wasn’t exactly a thrilling time to be a child.  There is one thing that hasn’t changed; lucky rabbit’s feet!  We had them too, but they were a bit more “fresh” back then if you know what I mean 😖, and they certainly didn’t come in every color of the rainbow.

While the book fair hasn’t changed much, libraries in general have come a loooong way!  First of all, when you weren’t quiet in the library in the 1020’s, they just beheaded you – now, the worst they do is just aggressively shush you.  The librarian when my kids were in school was a guy named Jerome… he was quite grouchy (BIG fan of the beheading policy), but I’m pretty sure he might be considered the OG bookworm!  Just the other day, I heard that he went on to become the Patron Saint of Librarians. #GoodForHim  Your kids are lucky to have five delightful moms running the library (plus many other volunteers) who to my knowledge haven’t beheaded even one single student… yet. On many occasions, I’ve overheard them in the library tickled pink over how excited the kids will be when they see all the new books about weather, flags, dragonology, and the latest Dog Man books. Hearing a grown woman say, “Oh I am so excited about this Minecraft cookbook!” was not on my bingo card this year! 🤣

Anywho, I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise) and forgot to give you the deets!  The Book Fair will be held in the school gym March 5th-7th and students will attend during a time slot selected by their teachers.  There will even be a Family Event on Thursday March 7th from 3:00-6:30 pm. This gives parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, the mailman – really anyone with cash or a working credit card – a chance to come in and shop with/for their student!  Here’s a link with more details.  Now about the $50 part, I think he definitely has his eye on a number of items and is hoping you will bankroll his habit. So Penniless, consider this your fair warning that your kid is about to redecorate his room with $12 Lamborguini posters and lose the key to the lock on that fuzzy journal before you’re even off the blacktop – but here’s hoping he comes home with at least one book!

— Maggie


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