I’m a mild library addict. And by “mild” I mean, I journey there every week and basically eat ALL THE BOOKS and have no regrets. But why merely visit a library when you can conquer it?!? So I did. With help from my two loyal minions.
And because I’m so magnanimous, I’m writing this to help you know how to conquer your own local library. You’re welcome. My rulership is wonderful, I know.
Back in 2014, I mentioned our regular library trips and…wow. My minions grew.
STEP 1: ENSURE YOU BRING BACK UP BEFORE EMBARKING ON THIS DANGEROUS CONQUERING JOURNEY
Not that I’m doubting you, per se, but it’s handy to have minions to do your bidding. Carry the bags. (Please tell me you brought bags for the books.) Bring snacks. Provide entertainment. Make handy diversions if other humans grow suspicious of you.
I bring along my niece and nephew, both of which I affectionally call Frank because it DRIVES THEM CRAZY. (I am the best kind of aunt in the universe.) They actually have separate names, but pfft….all you need is Frank.
STEP 2: PROCEED TO WHIP ABOUT THE LIBRARY WITH A DOMINATING STANCE AND AN EQUALLY DOMINATING GLARE.
I swear the look and the walk are 9 tenths of the process. You don’t want anyone mistaking your rule. I used to be all abut sneaking into libraries. But my preschooling companions assure me that tearing in screeching, “LET’S GET SOME BOOKS AND MOVIES, CAIT” is a much better process.
The term “library voice” is ridiculous. Forget it.
STEP 3: READ ALL THE BOOKS. ALL OF THEM. BECAUSE YOU ARE CONQUERING THEM.
What’s the point of conquering something if you don’t know what you’re conquering, hmm? So we like to read everything on the shelves.
One of the Franks always gasps whenever she picks out a book. She is a Book Gasper. “CAAAAAIT!” she says in a not-quiet-library-voice-at-all. “LOOK THIS ONE IS MY FAVOURITE.” She’ll then present me with a book neither of us has seen before. Ever. But this is what I like about her. The library is full of potential favourite books. She is a book opportunist.
The larger Frank is 5 and can read super well. It’s very handy, so between him and I, we shall read ALL THE BOOKS and be true conquerors.
STEP 4: MAKE SURE YOU UTILISE ALL THE THINGS THE LIBRARY OFFERS, SINCE YOU ARE ITS TRUE CONQUEROR AND LORD.
We usually take over the local preschoolers “Story Time” held downstairs. And by “takeover” I mean huddle in the back and REFUSE to do the song and REFUSE to go up the front to listen to the stories and REFUSE to make contact with the mere human residents. Totally fair. We conquerors are a class of our own.
We do like the crafts. Glitter and streamers and sparkles.
Frank is addicted to sparkles.
Me: What’s your favourite colour?
STEP 6: MAKE PILES OF BOOKS AND EAT THEM AT YOUR LEISURE.
Many piles. Many books. Frank is terrified we’ll leave the library without enough books so she dashes about collecting a bazillion Spots, Charlie and Lola, and Peppa Pig.
If you have never heard of either of those famous childhood books — YOU ARE GLORIOUSLY, BLISSFULLY IGNORANT. YOU’RE MISSING NOTHING. Also I refer to Peppa Pig as “animated Bacon” and I’m not even sorry.
I have a personal “Library Rule” which is borrowing only 2 books at once so I don’t get overwhelmed and neglect ARCs. This is a stupid rule. I ignore it 66% of the time.
STEP 7: BRING SNACKS.
This is so endlessly important because conquering cannot be done on an empty stomach! And um, there’s possibly a “no food” rule at the library, but I’ve never seen the sign specifically. And even if I did…we’re conquering here. Gee. We make the rules.
STEP 8: MAKE SURE YOU CONQUER A LIBRARY WITH NICE DISPLAYS SO YOUR LORDSHIP EYES CAN GAZE UPON THEM AND BE PLEASED.
We did well choosing our library in this regard. It has some very apt decorations on the back walls. Of which I think are made out of dictionaries? Who needs dictionaries anyway? Not us.
STEP 9: WE ALSO HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU CHECK THE BOOK SELECTION AND MAKE SURE IT’S GRAND BEFORE DECIDING TO DOMINATE THIS LIBRARY.
I, um, wasn’t excellent at this. But we liked the arty displays (and it’s the best library around, so there’s that too) so we conquer what libraries we can. At least there’s a great inter-library-loan system, so we have access to a small herd of other local libraries. Because there are two shelves of Young Adult books. TWO SHELVES. It’s a little pitiful.
But you can make the best of this situation by:
- asking the library to buy more books
- using puppy dog eyes when they ignore you
- well, thinking about puppy dog eyes because you actually do all requests online, but WHATEVER
- then reading all the ones available. all of them. do it.
STEP 10: PET ALL THE BOOKS THAT YOU’VE READ BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CONNECTION WITH THEM.
I totally check the shelves for Maggie Stiefvater and John Green books and feel vaguely pleased when they’re there…but also vaguely pleased when they’re not. That means someone else has good taste.
STEP 11: SNEAK AWAY FOR 3.2 SECONDS AND SNABBLE BOOKS FOR YOURSELF.
This is crucial to conquering because you must present yourself as a mystical, magical being who is there one moment and — BOOM — gone the next. Keeps all the mortals wary and cowering.
Except, like I said, there are two shelves of YA books so it’s a bit hard to “lose yourself among the books”. The minions actually always follow me as a bodyguard while loudly pronouncing, “OH CAIT IS GETTING SOME SCARY BOOKS NOW.”
Dangit, Frank, they’re not always scary. Just most of the time.
Fine. They’re always scary. How do they know me so well?! Sheesh.
STEP 12: ENSURE MINION ARMY IS AT LEAST WEARING SUITABLE UNIFORMS, OKAY? THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Can’t have them wandering around without proper attire now, can we? The most dangerous of the Franks is also Batman. The nerdy, literate Frank wears a shirt to assure the populace that my adorable young self is NOT their parent. As I mentioned back in 2014, people keep assuming I’m their parent! I AM NOT. I am a conquer! I am no parent! I’m like 5’1 and have a young face!
Speaking of faces…this is the result when I say “Let me take a picture of your 100% truthful shirt. SMILE FOR ME, FRANK.”
I mean…what even, Frank. What. E.V.E.N.
Although it is kind of cute. And his shirt is A+…because yes I am the cooler aunt.
STEP 13: BE CONSISTENT! COME REGULARLY SO NO ONE FORGETS YOUR IRON FISTED RULING!
We do so. Every Thursday. With our loud voices and our snack crumbs and our ability to sniff out every Elmer the Patchwork Elephant book no matter where it is on the shelves. None can forget us.
STEP 14: DON’T FORGET THE PERKS OF CONQUERING — ENDLESS SUPPLY OF FREE BOOKS.
This is particularly helpful if you are not rich. All you need is a library card and you’re unstoppable. Although the downside is accidentally meeting with seriously gross books.
Once I brought home a book that had something really STICKY on the front cover. What was it??? Dried chocolate? Dragon spit? BLOOD???? All I know is that is was insanely hard to hold said book without touching the grossness. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. I’ve also brought home books that literally fell apart as I tried to turn pages. And I’m a really careful book reader!
Plus my library is addicted to covering books in shiny plastic. This is horrendous for book photography. It reflects awfully and tries my patience.
Clearly my rule over my library isn’t perfect yet, since they don’t burn with fire the other human-library-goers who wreck books. I’ll fix that soon.
STEP 15: WHILE MINIONS ARE OPTIONAL…YOU REALLY SHOULD GET SOME LIKE I SUGGESTED IN STEP #1.
You can steal their snacks! (I’m kidding, I’d be murdered if I tried to steal their precious food.) They provide many hysterical conversations to listen to.
He-Frank: I’m Grandma and Poppa’s grandson.
Me: That is true.
She-Frank: I’m not the grand-sun. I’m the star!
Me: That is also true.