My failed quest for a library membership

18 February 2015
Usually this space is where I write about my triumphs. The plastic hurdles successfully jumped over and shared here to make life a little easier for those, like me, that want to avoid waste, especially the non-recyclable plastic type. Unfortunately my latest attempt to thwart plastic has not been a success at all and I am a little bummed about it.



When I moved to the suburbs I decided to get a library membership for my local library. I have wandered in there when I had time to kill to read magazines or look at books. I kept putting it off because one of the items I needed for a membership was something with my address on it. 

When my NSW state licence was due for renewal I decided it was time to become a Victorian and apply for a state licence. With a new non embarrassing photo snapped my new licence was supplied to me with my name and address on it. I could now get a library membership.

About the same time I had to get a new bank card. All of a sudden I had two new plastic cards and two old plastic cards…and getting a library membership would mean another plastic card. (I have a blog post coming up about plastic cards soon. Still researching some helpful info for it).

Surely I could get a library membership without plastic. I could simply ask for a membership but without a card, instead keep my membership number written down or if they used barcodes I could write out the barcode number. I worked in retail so I knew most systems where the barcode did not work for some reason the barcode number could be keyed in. It was a simple an easy solution.

Turns out I could not action any of these ideas. The library simply said no after I presented my solutions. There was no way around it. If I wanted to borrow books then I had to succumb to a plastic card.

I love libraries. My childhood country town has a small library. To me it was my favourite place to go after school.

Libraries are a one of the best sustainable options for enjoying books and magazines that are only read once. I frequently pop in to read magazines. Even if a magazine or book is printed on recycled paper, libraries which are essentially part of the sharing economy are a better choice for the environment. A book or magazine that is printed on recycled paper then left on a shelf or recycled again requiring energy and a bigger carbon footprint than that same item potentially shared with 50-100 people is obviously more sustainable choice and kinder on the environment.

Currently when I want a book I visit charity stores or borrow from friends. Both fantastic avenues to browse and enjoy books. Like right now I want to read Amy Poehler book Yes, Please but have not found it in any second hand books stores or on my friends shelves. I have never read a book on my smart phone, maybe that is my solution.

I did ponder if one bit of plastic was that big of a deal if granted me access to a lifetime of free books. One half of is stomping her foot and saying no. It is the principal. My request was denied. A request that was made not for me, but for the environment and generations after me. A plastic card is not necessary.

I want to know what you would do. Would you get the card?

I think I just answered my own question.
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