I woke up in a great mood this morning, but now I’m grumpier than hell.
It actually started weeks ago.
Lauren came home from school with the news that the Project Arrow class was going to see “A Christmas Carol” in Chicago. I talked with the teacher and she agreed to arrange for an interpreter for the performance. Lauren wasn’t too happy about it, because we saw the play a few years ago with two interpreters and she didn’t enjoy it.
“It’s just not fun looking at the stage and then looking at the interpreters, Mom!”
Yeah, I understand.
So then Lauren came home with the news that the theatre couldn’t get an interpreter for the performance. The alternative was for Lauren to attend and read off the printed script. Another alternative was for Lauren to attend the play on the weekend, when the performance was interpreted.
Lauren wrinkled her nose at both alternatives. I didn’t blame her.
She asked the teacher if she could stay home and view “The Christmas Carol” on DVD. The teacher agreed.
Which leads me to the reason why I’m grumpy.
But wait, let me back up a bit and explain something. Our home library is in Plainfield, but we use the Naperville library for our main library. So there I was today, looking for the captioned copy of “The Christmas Carol.” Looking for captioned copies of any DVD in the non-fiction section is like hunting for diamonds. The large majority of non-fiction videos are not captioned or even subtitled. I grabbed three videos for myself, one was captioned, the rest were subtitled. While I was browsing in the DVD section, a librarian came by and asked me if I needed any help.
“Can you help me find the captioned version of ‘The Christmas Carol?'” I asked.
It took her but a few minutes to find the DVD. I took it to the counter, along with some other non-fiction DVDs I had wanted to see. Non-fiction–because according to the library rules, reciprocal borrowers (that’s us–because we pay taxes to the Plainfield library, even though we live in another town) can only take out the non-fiction DVDs.
As it turned out, “The Christmas Carol” was parked in the fiction section. Which meant it was a no-no.
I explained the situation to the librarian. This was for school, you see. I explained about the play, the interpreter situation, the agreement with the teacher that we’d view the captioned DVD while the others headed downtown.
“I’m sorry, you can’t take it out. You have to go to Plainfield library. Or, for $100, you can rent the fiction videos for a dollar each all year long.”
Let’s see–a hundred bucks and I could take the video home that day.
“Is there someone else I can talk to, a supervisor, who might make an exception?” I wanted to know. “I would be happy to bring the video right back on Friday.”
The supervisor turned out to be the librarian who helped locate the DVD. She called the Plainfield library and learned that they didn’t have the captioned version of the video.
I pleaded with her again.
“Do you know anyone in Naperville who can come in and check this out for you?” she suggested.
So I thought of my friend Betsy. My friend Nadene. I envisioned them dragging themselves to the library, braving the cold weather, all so we could see a captioned DVD of a play that we already saw years ago.
I sighed. I could see that the two librarians wanted to help. But the rules stood in the way. The ironclad rules that don’t bend for access, captions or not.
So I left the library in a grumpy mood.