A Happy Report

8 08 2009


I’m happy to tell everyone that the library card fiasco has a happy ending! After my three stepchildren were denied library cards by a librarian who said I couldn’t sign them up for cards because as their stepmother I wasn’t a legal guardian, I emailed an irate letter to the county library administration offices. The director of the entire library system emailed me back to say he would do some research to discover what had happened because as a stepparent himself, he was appalled at our experience.

This is part of the letter he sent me yesterday:

“Do we want to preclude step-parents from assisting kids in their care to get a library card? The answer is a clear “no”. Just to clarify that intent, at our next re-printing, we will revise our registration form to add “step-parent” to the “parent/guardian” line. We will also cover the topic next week at a circulation team meeting so supervisors are aware of our intent in this area.”

Yay!!!! I will be doing more research on the topic of legal guardianship, power of attorney, and medical power of attorney and will post more on this soon.  I’m also writing an article for Stepmom Magazine that will run in the September issue. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple more thoughts on this.

I could have lied. A lot of stepparents I heard from after my original post said they either just didn’t bring up that they were a stepparent in similar situations, or lied outright when asked because it was just easier. If I had lied, the kids would have their cards and the librarian would never have exploded this issue. I have certainly allowed people to assume I’m the mother to make our lives easier. But now the staff of the whole county system are going to be trained in how to deal with stepfamilies. They are reprinting the library card application form to include stepparents!

I know that legal guardianship is a complicated issue. Ostracizing stepfamilies, however, is not complicated. It is very simple. It shouldn’t happen. Yet stepfamilies feel like outsiders all the time in churches and schools on sports teams and in our neighborhoods. Enough already!