We used to live in a town with a gorgeous library that I’ve used and loved since 1988. When we moved a few miles away to our new house eleven years ago, we discovered with shock and dismay that we’re just over the line in another library’s district. We loved and used our original library so much, we actually paid an annual fee that allowed us to continue using its services.This year, we learned that all of the libraries in our county have agreed to let patrons use any library they would like for free, as long as items are returned to the location from which they were checked out. To participate and avoid paying that steep annual fee we’d been paying, we simply had to obtain an updated card from the library that receives my taxes.We secured those new cards and stopped by our favorite library to start the new system. I set out the new card next to my beloved old card that I’ve used for over two decades.The librarian who waited on us was one of the sweetest ladies on staff with a big smile and bright blue eyes. I asked, “Can I keep my old card?”She didn’t respond to my question. Instead, she looked up and said, “I have to call and verify that you’re a patron at the other library, but just this once.” She got up to make the call, so I figured I’d ask again about the card in a few minutes.She sat back down and said we were confirmed. She brought up my account with my old card and stared at the screen for a moment.“You have a small fine of forty cents,” she said, “but we’ll worry about that later.”“No, no, I hate to owe anyone anything,” I said, unzipping my wallet and digging around for change.She swiped the new card. “You’ll use this new card from now on,” she said.“Okay,” I said as I pulled out the coins and stacked them neatly next to the paperwork.And then I couldn’t believe my eyes! Faster than a blue jay could snatch a peanut from the feeder and toss the shell to the ground, she whipped out a pair of scissors, snatched up my beloved old green library card and snipped it in two.Snip.I gasped. “But…I wanted to keep it.”She tossed the two halves in the garbage can. “You can’t use it anymore.”“I know, but…I still wanted to keep it.”She moved on to my daughter’s account without saying another word about it. I looked at my daughter with my mouth wide open in disbelief…maybe horror. “Sorry, Mom.” She patted me on the knee.“But…”“I know,” she murmured sympathetically, “it’ll be okay.”“I can’t believe she did that,” I whispered. “And she’s going to do it to yours, too.”“But that’s okay,” she said. “I don’t mind. You’re the only one who cares.”“I care!” piped up my son. “I’m not bringing my card in for a year!“As the librarian finished updating my daughter’s account, I saw her pick up the scissors. “Wait! Would you pause before snipping this one?” I asked. “I need a photo of this!”“Well, sure!” And she posed like she delighted in destroying a reader’s symbol of intellectual curiosity and love of lifelong learning.“Got it,” I said with a dramatic sigh.“Okay!” she chirped.Snip.Photo credit: “Lost library card” photo by Ann Kroeker.