Want to borrow a book from BYU?

Here’s what you’ll need to borrow two books (a.p.r. $16) from the Lord’s University’s Harold B. Lee (Prophet, Seer, Revelator) Library:

1.  State Issued Driver’s License

2.  University issued Identification

Given that I obtained my university identification from my state driver’s license, one would imagine that the State of Utah is sufficiently concerned with forgery that security guards at the BYU would accept such identification as authentic.  But no…

Now you’ll need a letter, with your address.  After walking back to your car, under a sun only describable as Full of Wrath, you’ll find that the security guard doubts the collective authenticity of your state issued driver’s license, your university faculty identification, and your letter from the State of Alabama which you happened to have in your car.  So, faced with a 22 year-old slow-wit in a uniform, who “thinks” the letter isn’t gonna work, you’ll have to walk back to your car, passing your children hiding from the sun’s wrath, in order to obtain the evelope for said letter, because the slow-wit believes one cannot fake red ink on the outside of an evelope, yet numerous barcodes are apparently easily deciphered by his supervisor as potentially fake.  Envelope in hand, upon tossing the materials before the guard, you also need the following, in order to obtain your two books for two weeks:

3.  Vocabulary that does not include “shit” or “hurry up” or “feel like big man in that little uniform?”

Finding yourself lacking the third essential piece, you’ll now be told that your case is “special,” and because he doesn’t like people swearing, you get to wait for the slow-witted security guard to attempt to dial his supervisor.  When you demand your “papers,” and walk to another guard less concered with preventing library-targeted interstate forgery, he’ll accompany you and, thus, you’ll find yourself requiring:

4.  25 minutes, while another guard calls to verify your address.

Who is he calling?  Perhaps Thomas Monson, charged with protecting the Lord’s Sacred Resources like Books, but not souls.  Why verify an address printed on a letter sent on State stationary, in an envelope with red ink on the outside, which happens to match your state issued driver’s license, as well as your university identification?  Because, he explains, they get people trying to fake those.  When asked, seriously, you get people faking driver’s licenses in order to check out books?  He’ll admit that no, that doesn’t happen.  You have this time with the new less-slow-witted guard because their computer is “down, or something”.

When you finally obtain the stamp, yes, an actual stamp from another security guard, you’ll be treated to a another fifteen minute wait as the circulation clerk figures out how to apply her new skills in reading, typing, and looking at a monitor.  Now, you have almost everything you need to check out two books from a library where you previously checked out books for nearly a decade, with never even a late fee besmirching your account, but not everything.  Oh no.  Now you need time, and lots of it, as the Lord’s University Prophet Seer Revelator library clerk tempts the heavens by entering their byzantine data entry process.

Then you’ll find, as you exit, that you cannot even have the human pleasure of telling Captain America all the things you think he should do with his body.  He’s at lunch.


  1. You must have checked out Sheri Dew’s new book, “Saying It Like It Is.”

  2. When I signed up for this the officer was very nice. When I questioned the need for a postmarked piece of mail, she explained the reasoning behind it. I guess this past year they had over $15,000 worth of books stolen from the library by a couple of people who filled out the appropriate paperwork and wrote a check that later bounced. They haven’t been able to locate the individuals because they gave false information. As such, the real cop in charge of security at the library instituted this new policy. You shouldn’t take out your frustrations on the security officers. They are given certain policies and procedures to follow. Among those are only accepting letters with a postmark and passing on “belligerent” cases to their superior officer. I know it’s frustrating, I had to drive home to get a piece of mail, but I understand the reasoning behind it. If you have a complaint, feel free to file it with the officer in charge, not his underlings.

  3. I think I’ll stick with public libraries and with colleges that issue library cards. Thanks, anyway.

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