Dear Parents Being Harangued To Remember Yet Another Username and Password By Signing Up for the Library Summer Reading Program,

Another login. I’m sorry. And yes, it’s a different app from last year, so no, you can’t use the same credentials you made then. And yes, your password needs a minimum of eleven characters and can’t be a recognizable word from the dictionary. I know. We librarians hate it too. All of it.

So let’s make a deal.

Sign up to get us those statistics about people signing up that prove the library is Good and Worth Funding to the people who make decisions. After you sign up? Live your life. That login the librarian at the desk wrote down helpfully on a bookmark?

Burn it.

Don’t even come back at the end of August for a bookmark or whatever it is we’re giving away. Last summer it was godforsaken kazoos! KAZOOS. Fucking nightmare for us and every parent who suddenly saw their kazoo-filled future spread out before them when their kid came to claim their prize. Save yourself the agony and once you sign up, don’t give summer reading another thought.

The environment you have at home is like, way more important than doggedly tracking the number of books or the agonizing number of minutes your kid spends reading this summer. Go for a hike. Nap on a porch together. Stargaze. Watch TV. Eat sugary cereal while watching that TV. Volunteer. Go puddle jumping. Ooze into puddles yourselves all summer, forgetting every login you ever knew. Or read a book. But only if it brings you and your kid a little tiny speck of joy. If it doesn’t, fuck it. Because the thing is, if you care enough to even consider the summer reading program, I’m pretty sure you’re doing great and your kid is going to get the skills they need one way or another, and that way does not have to involve the logging of each page turned as though it were a FitBit step and nothing more. You are absolved, good, decent parent or caregiver. Toss that login into the sea. Go in peace.

Except, do sign up with our new app’s ridiculously clunky login so we get those sweet sweet participation stats that ensure our funding for low-income neighborhood preschool storytimes, bookmobile service to nursing homes, ESL conversation café snacks, database access, “Meet the Mouse” computer classes for baby boomers, and “How to tell Fact from Fiction” fake news identification workshops you should really get your Aunt Lori to attend, then toss that login out to sea in a bottle.

There is no angry library god coming to smite you, as long as we get our stats. Pinky swear, your kid’s gonna be just fine. Fuck another login to remember.

And fuck a kazoo.

Hayley the Librarian