Check out a bag | Darcy Brixey


I’ll admit it. I have a bag problem. Not the cute-designer-handbags-with-matching-shoes kind of problem. It is my ever expanding collection of reusable totes. Before that, I had too many plastic bags. Every time I opened the cupboard door, they would plunge out and float to the floor like escaped ghosts. I always saved them because I have a dog. Trust me, they get used.

With plastic bag bans in some cities and the larger green movement, reusable totes are more prevalent and businesses give them away at every opportunity. The totes can be used for almost everything. Well, everything except what dog owners use them for.

Now I find myself wincing at the tote bags that spring out of that same cupboard door. I have some from bookstores, or grocery stores, and many, many more from library conferences sporting database logos. I know that somewhere, a group of reference publisher salesmen come up with ideas for giveaways to advertise their product.

“Let’s give them pens,” says salesman number one.

“I have a better idea. Let’s give them bags. Librarians could always use more bags,” says salesman number two, sure that his business savvy will earn him a raise. If he only knew.

Despite my growing collection of bags, I never have one when I need it. I know I’m not alone. Every week I see families with young children come into the library carefree and unburdened. A half hour later, the mother is dragging a screaming toddler, while the father holds a precariously balanced stack of books under one arm and a drooling baby under the other. I want to help, but there is no bag to give them.

This won’t happen in the future. Starting this fall, the Bellevue, Lake Hills and Crossroads libraries will be piloting a project to check out a bag. When you find yourself with a large stack of DVDs and books and no way to carry them, you can check out up to two bags on your library card. The check out period is one year, with two more year long renewals. If your bag cupboard hasn’t yet reached capacity, you can also buy them for $1.25 each. The bags can accompany you to the library, the grocery store, maybe even the beach. Just leave it home when you walk Fido.


Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

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