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The Library Card

Lily’s library card gets deactivated

By Jolene PoulinPublished 3 months ago 9 min read
The Library Card
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Lily presses enter one more time.

“Why won’t this stupid thing just work?”

“Well did you reset your password?”

“Of course I did. It was the first thing I did. I was signed into this damned service just yesterday and now all of a sudden it doesn’t want to work.”

“Is there some other service you could use?”

“Ugh not really. All the other ebook apps kinda suck. This is my favourite one.”

“Maybe the library has your book?”

“This is the library app, Kylie. I’m trying to borrow a book and it won’t let me. It just keeps saying ‘you need to sign in before using this service’. Ugh.”

"Well are you?"


"Signed in."

"It won't let me. It tells me to reset my password, but I just did that."

“Maybe try calling them?”

“I hate phone calls! Honestly, I borrowed a book through the app yesterday. What happened?”

“Maybe they did a system reset?”

“Can you stop defending them for one minute? I’m the one who needs your help.”

“Okay, fine, here’s the number for the library, just try calling.”

Lily presses the keys on her phone and hears the dreaded dial tone.

“What if they answer?”

“Then talk to them?”

“Oh no, what if they don’t answer?”

“Then leave a message I guess.”

“Oh that is so much worse.”

“Hi you’ve reached the public library, how can I help you?”

“Ah!” Lily shrieks and hangs up the phone.

“Well what did you do that for?” Kylie asks.

“I panicked okay? Can you just call for me?”

“Fine.” Kylie dials the same number and waits.

“Hi you’ve reached the public library, how can I help you?” It's the same voice as before.

“My friend here is having trouble signing into your app.”

“Has your friend reset their password recently?”

Kylie gives Lily an "I told you so" look before answering.

“Yes, she claims to have done so just this morning.”

“And she’s using the right password?”

“Yes, I would assume so.” Lily nods along in the background.

“Okay. What’s your friends name?”

“Lily Hattenfield.”

“Okay let me pull up her account here.”

“What’s she doing?” Lily whispers to Kylie.

“Getting your account or something. I don’t know. Hush.”

“It says here your friend’s account has been deactivated.”

“Does it say why?”

“I’m sorry I can only tell her that. I probably shouldn’t have even looked up her account without talking to her. Oh, that was bad of me. Sorry. It’s my first week on the job. Can I talk to your friend?”

“She wants to talk to you,” Kylie extends the phone to Lily.

“Do I have to?”

“Uh yeah, if you want your account back.”

“Ugh,” Lily takes the phone and puts on a fake cheery voice: “Hi this is Lily.”

“Lily can I just confirm your phone number to make sure it’s really you?”

“Sure thing. That’s 403-555-0189.”

“Thanks, Lily. So your account has been deactivated due to suspicious activity.”

“Suspicious activity?” Lily nearly shouts. Kylie giggles a little in the background.

“Yes. Two days ago you took out a children’s book and then today you tried to lease an adult romance novel. We just thought that was a little odd so we froze your account.”

“Well unfreeze it. Those were both me.”

“I’m afraid you need to come down to the branch to re-activate your account. Sorry about that.”

“Are you serious?”

The librarian pauses. “Yes.”

“How late are you open today?” Lily sighs into the phone.

“We’re open today until 4pm.”

“Okay. I guess I’ll see you soon.” Lily hangs up the phone and passes it back to Kylie. “We’re going on a field trip,” she announces in her regular voice.

The pair of friends pile into their small city car and make the 10 minute drive to the library.

It's an unassuming building, all grey and blocky on the outside. It could be any other office building if not for the colourful "Public Library" sign hanging out front. They walk in together.

Lily stops to take in the sights. The outside may have been boring, but the inside is anything but. Sure, it has a panelled ceiling and standard fluorescent overhead lights. The stacks of books are made of tall wooden shelves that she can't see over and the reception looks like any other unoccupied office desk.

But the decor is out of a fairy tale. There's a giant tree painted on the wall of the children's literature corner complete with leaves cascading down from the ceiling. It even has fairy lights and a section of the librarian's favourite books out for display.

The fiction section is noted with bright blue signs denoting author's names and sub genres. There's navy for mystery books and robin's egg blue for romance. It looks like an ocean of books, undulating from left to right and back left again.

Each section is like this, with one colour chosen for the section and hues of it used for all the other signs. It creates a kaleidoscope of colour before Lily's eyes.

"Wow," is all she manages to say.

"Wait, have you never been here before?" Kylie grabs her friend's arm and turns her to face her.

"No, have you?" Lily asks, wide-eyed.

"Of course! It's the library. I come here to work on things or take out books. How have you never been here?"

"I got my card online and only ever use it for ebooks. That might be about to change though..." She trails off as she runs her hand down the length of book spines next to her.

"Okay, first things first, let's get that account re-activated," Kylie pulls her friend back into focus.

"Right. Okay. That's probably at the front desk."

Lily walks up to the abandoned front desk littered with unshelved books and loose papers. She presses the doorbell-like button on the counter and hears a subtle chime ring out through the space. Moments later, the librarian comes around the corner.

She's wearing this wonderful flowy dress that wraps around her feet with every step. It's long and bright yellow, giving her the appearance of a flower moving through the rainbow of books. She wears a name tag that reads "Florence."

"Hi there, how can I help you?" She asks

"Hi Florence, I called earlier," Lily replies.

"Ah, you must be Lily. I don't get many phone calls around here."

"That's me."

"So you want to activate your account, right?"

"Yes, please."

"I'll need your library card to do that."

"I, uh, don't have one?"

"What do you mean you don't have one? You have an account, right?"


"Do you have the app on your phone?


"Well, open it up and click on the little card icon."

"I don't see a card icon," Lily turns her phone towards Florence.

"That's cause you're not signed in, dear."

"Well that's my problem, I can't sign in."

"Do you know your password?"

"Of course! I reset it this morning."

"Maybe try again. Just press that little button that says 'reset your password' under the login field."

"I know how to do it," Lily tries to glare at the librarian but her sunny demeanour squashes her bad mood. "I'll try again."

"I'm right here if you need help."

"Okay, so I press the button, I enter my email, and then it takes me back to the login screen. So I put in my email address again and enter the new password. And then it just says 'please reset your password.' That's what I'm doing!"

Florence tries to hold back a small laugh and coughs to cover up what escapes.

"Lily, you should have received an email with instructions on how to reset your password."

"An email?"

"Yes, please check your email."

Lily switches to her email app and sure enough she has four new emails all from her previous attempts at resetting her password.

"Oh..." she mumbles, "well that's embarrassing."

"Just follow the instructions in the latest email you received and you should be good to go."

Lily clicks the link in the email and sure enough a new screen opens in her app. The big letters at the top read "RESET YOUR PASSWORD" with a field for her new password. She types in something she's sure to forget next time, confirms it's spelled correctly, and then logs in with the new information.

The app loads as normal and Lily can see all her account information.

"Wow, okay, that's embarrassing."

"Now that you've logged in, I can re-activate your account. Can you open up your card for me?"

Lily clicks the card icon and turns her phone towards Florence. The librarian scans the card with a soft beep.

"Now I just click this button, and here you go! Account re-activated. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"I don't think--"

"Can you get her a physical card, please? So this doesn't happen again?" Kylie interrupts.

"Sure thing, dear. Let me just scan that card one more time," beep, "and then our handy card printer will make you a new library card."

The card printing machines whirrs to life and spits out one credit-card sized library card. It's bright yellow and it says "Reading is cool" on the front.

"Haha, cute. Thanks, Florence."

"Is that all?"

"Yeah, I think I'll just take a look around. Maybe I'll get a physical book instead of an ebook for once." Lily's eyes are already scanning the shelves.

"Be my guest," Florence motions to the expansive array of books behind her.

Lily looks around once again. She wants to go to every section and see what's there. Her heart pounds in her ears and she swears she can see little stars floating above each tantalizing section. If you didn't know better, you'd say she was a small child entering a candy shop for the first time, told she could have anything she wants.

"Split up?" She asks her friend.

"Sure, see you back here in 15."

"Better make that 30."


Lily walks forward, leaving her friend in the bright red games section behind her. Who knew the library offered video games?

She's drawn to the blue ocean of fiction. She runs her hand over each book, feeling it like a wave across her finger tips. When one catches her, she stops to look at its cover. Within minutes, her hands are full and she has to go back to Florence for a book bag.

Lily spends much more than 30 minutes wandering the tall aisles of the library. She gets completely lost in the shelves and in the stories on book covers. She only stops when Kylie drags her back at the front desk to checkout so they can leave.

"Florence, this place is magnificent," Lily hands the woman her pile of books, "I think I'll be back here quite often."

"I look forward to seeing you."

Florence scans each book with a soft beep and hands the stack back to Lily. "Keep the bag, it's a bonus for signing up."


The two part with giant smiles, Lily weighed down with books but feeling like she's walking on a cloud.

Young AdultShort Story

About the Creator

Jolene Poulin

I'm an amateur writer with an interest in fiction and general story telling.

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