2543. A bookish tale
© Bruce Goodman 13 October 2022

Alyah Smithson had fourteen library cards. It all began when the town library’s head librarian would not let Alyah take out more than five books at any one time. Alyah waited until another librarian was at the desk and requested to become a new library user under the name of Delia. Mercy of mercies! Oh the relief! She wasn’t asked for any ID. This was an invitation over time to get another dozen library card under false names and addresses.

It meant she could have seventy books out all at once. The library had several outlets in the town and spilled over into the neighbouring towns in a “library affiliation”. Alyah didn’t have to use the same library and librarians all the time. The scheme was greatly helped once self-issuing machines became common.

A funny little incident happened when Alyah requested “A Snippet of a Snapshot”, a new best-selling novel by Evelyn Snodgrass. She was told that it was currently out on loan and she would be informed when the book was returned. Imagine Alyah’s surprise when she realized that Samantha Winkworthy who had the book out was in fact herself!

The time came, after about a year, when Alyah decided to move to Thrushton-on-Waverly, a distant town. She went to the libraries in her old town and borrowed five of the most glorious books with each of the fourteen library cards. There were seventy books in all. She packed them in a box for removal. This was the ninth time Alyah had moved house in recent years.

Even though Cecilia Coddington of Thrushton-on-Waverly had an extensive home library, she had managed to acquire fourteen library cards.

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