This post is sponsored by Cozi
Despite being married to a mega-library user, Bart has library anxiety.
He’s always worried about losing a book or forgetting to renew or return the things he has checked out.
When we lived in Texas and the check-out limit was 15 (15! How did I even survive?), I’d occasionally use his card to check a few extra things out and it caused him some amount of stress.
Fortunately, over the last decade, I’ve proven myself trustworthy with a library card, and despite the fact that I usually have over between 50-100 books checked out at any given time, often from multiple library systems, I have paid very very few library fines over the years. I’d guess that, all told, I’ve spent less than $25 on library fines in the course of my life.
Until we moved to Arizona.
We’ve been here less than 3 months, and I’ve racked up more than $30 in fines.
I wish I could blame it on super harsh fines here, but the main steep fine here is $2 per hold that isn’t picked up (when I picked up my 27 books on hold last week, I tried not to think about how expensive that would have been if I hadn’t made the library trip), and I haven’t paid any of those fees.
No, it’s just regular old library fines of 20 cents per item or $1 on movies per day that have killed me, mainly because I have neglected to do the incredibly arduous task of opening my computer and renewing my checkouts in my pajamas. It’s a rough life.
(To be fair, I’d also like to blame the fact that there are NO convenient library branches to me – I never drive past them as a matter of course; I always have to make a special trip to pick up or drop anything off).
When I got the notice last week that I owed $24.60 on my card, I decided I might need a better system.
I’d sort of expected life to calm down once we moved to Arizona and were finally settled, but (surprise!) that has not been the case.
Almost immediately, we started homeschool and public school, which has taken up a considerable portion of our time. Bart’s gone much more with a full-time job than he ever was when he was an MBA student. And although Star is possibly the easiest baby on the face of the planet, juggling the needs of three small children is still a fair amount of work. I remember as a child thinking, “How can my parents forget about [some totally trivial detail]?” Now I totally understand.
There’s just a lot to keep track of when you have a family and a house and work schedules and church and school. And 125 library books.
I finally decided that what I needed to do was add a calendar reminder that would remind me every week to renew all my books, check what holds needed to be picked up, and what books needed to be returned.
I use a physical calendar for my blog, but for my real life, Bart and I need a calendar that will sync and that we can use from our phones.
Recently, I started using the Cozi Family Organizer, which is a free app that keeps all your calendars, to-do lists, reminders, and shopping lists in one place where the whole family can access them. I love that it works on all platforms, so you can use it on the computer, an iPhone, or an Android tablet or phone.
It’s also saved me that constant problem where I sit down to make the grocery list for the week and say to Bart, “Anything you need?” and he gives me a blank look, even though he’s mentioned multiple things we were out of or almost out of during the week. Or I’m not scrounging around for that rogue piece of paper where I wrote that five things I ABSOLUTELY NEEDED at the store but now can’t remember a single one of them.
I also love a shared to-do list, because often in the evenings, Bart and I will say “wasn’t there something we needed to do?” but we can’t remember what projects we were planning on plowing through (we sound like we have approximately five brain cells between the two of us – are we alone?).
All the core features are free on Cozi, although there is also a Gold version with a extra features like shared contacts and birthday lists (and the yearly cost is less than my library fines).
This whole thing has also given me way more empathy for the people who have library anxiety - I told Bart, “I suddenly understand why you’ve felt stressed about the library all these years.”
I’m crossing my fingers that my financial contributions to the Arizona library system are permanently over. And I’m putting another reminder in Cozi.