For good reason, library policy states that only parents or legal guardians can sign for library cards for children. I have met many well-meaning grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others to whom I’ve had to recite this policy. As an extra precaution, we ask not “Are you the child’s mother?” but “What is your relationship to the child?” When someone does claim legal guardianship, we ask for documentation. I had always felt this was an unfair step. After all, we don’t ask parents to document their parentage; we take their word for it. Last week, I met the patron who single-handedly changed my mind. This patron came in with her daughter and her niece and wanted to get cards for both. When we explained our policy, she claimed legal guardianship. She stated that the mother of her niece had died, and she was now her caregiver. In the interest of kindness, we agreed to hold onto the application until the aunt could return with the needed documentation. A few days later, the same child did return…with her mother – resurrected apparently from the dead. Shame on you, Auntie!
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