I have failed twice so far in my attempt to return a library book. On the first attempt I packed the hefty 600pg book in my bag and headed out for the day. I notice there is a branch near my first event, so hop on the subway and go to the library a block away. Locked gates, no book depository, no explanatory signs. I call the branch to find out they (and the rest of the branches) are closed for a weekend-long systems upgrade. I laugh and continue my day, lugging around this extra weight for hours.
Today, I've done my research. There are certain branches of the Brooklyn library that allow after-hours book drop. I venture into below-freezing temperatures intent on getting rid of this albatross. Nearing the library, I see a man with bags scattered around him in front of the deposit. I stride purposefully toward the slot, book in hand. "You're not going to be able to fit it in there," he says, gesturing at the overflowing depository. No kidding. Trust and chaos at the Brooklyn Heights library, where people have smashed their books into the bin, and spilling out for anyone to grab.
"Do you know what's been going on? They've been closed for days," the man asks. I mention the system upgrade, which hopefully will bring printers online to place helpful signs in the doors of closed libraries during future upgrades.