The Quest of a (Clueless) College Student

Mission: Read The Outsiders for Adolescent Literature

Problem: I don’t have The Outsiders

Solution: Rent The Outsiders from the library

Piece of cake, right?


Attempt #1

My first attempt to the solution was ideal: rent the book from the college library. So after class, I calmly walked into the eerily-quiet library, completely overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of the place. Not knowing where exactly to begin looking, I meekly asked the work-study library attendant if the library had any young adult literature.

His response was, “Oh, is this your first semester on campus?”



Only having gone into the college library a handful of times, as a fourth-semester student, I could only muster an uncomfortable “No” in return to his blunt question. After the awkwardness had somewhat diminished, he politely directed me towards the online card catalog where I was left alone to search for the book. Much to my dismay, the library didn’t house the book, but they did have the movie to rent!


Hm…so tempting.

Knowing that my guilty conscious would envelop my entire being if I detoured actually reading the book, I hastily left the college’s library and began developing another plan.

Attempt #2

I really hoped my second attempt wouldn’t be as disastrous as my first attempt and in five minutes I was standing outside of the town’s public library. At approximately 3:30 pm, the library buzzed with teenagers who just finished their school day. A group of boys stood in a mob, with peering and suspecting eyes, outside of the building. Jeesh, I thought. I’m not the one who looks like a criminal here. I simply entered the building, resisting the urge to defend myself and put those suspecting eyes in their rightful place.

Having been to the library before, I knew the general region where the teen reading section was located. When I walked into the small room, four wide-eyed girls stared at me.

Oh great, an audience.

After rummaging through a few shelves, I could not grasp how the shelves were arranged and organized. Numbers with decimals points and short-handed letters fluttered through my mind and suddenly I began feeling weak and vulnerable. Exhausted from my quest-in-progress, I desperately wanted to throw the towel in right there, in the middle of the teen reading lounge. Yet, perseverance and determination became a greater force and I put on my big girl pants to muster up the courage and ask for help. It couldn’t hurt anyway, when I already looked like a completely crazed lunatic, frantically searching the teenage reading shelves.

Having not seen a library desk attendant when I walked in, I decided to ask the closest person to me, which really didn’t seem like a bad option. The girls in the teen lounge seemed to be very familiar with this section. Who else would hang out in the teen reading section on a Monday afternoon?

“Excuse me. Do you know where I can find The Outsiders?” I managed to ask.

The girls enthusiastically jumped up and, before I knew it, were quickly at my side, nonchalantly chatting away. One girl commented on how great the book was, while another girl offered help. After they told me I should really use the card catalog, I must have looked completely helpless because one of the girls walked me over to the computer.

I carefully typed “The Outsiders. S.E. Hinton” into the search bar and Viola! The library had the book in stock! However, when I looked at the location listed, I frowned as I read the following: Teen, Paperback. Well, I obviously already knew it would be located in the teen section, I just didn’t know where. The card catalog didn’t list any numbers or letters that correlated to the shelves.

Seeing no other option, I put my pride aside and I returned to the girls. Despairingly, I asked for their assistance once again. Thankfully, the girls didn’t seem to mind my cluelessness and they graciously found a library assistant to help me. Like a well-rehearsed musical, the assistant flawlessly walked straight to the shelf and miraculously pulled out The Outsiders!


I expressed my gratitude to the assistant and the girls and bid them goodbye.

When I reached the front desk to check the book out, I dusted off the library card that I haven’t used in years and handed it over to the woman.

“Due in two weeks,” she warmly said as she handed the book to me.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked out of the library and to my car, with only two thoughts in my head:

1) I really should have paid more attention in school when they taught us how to use the card catalog.
2) Mission accomplished!



1000 Awesome Things #280 When little kids get really, really excited. 2011. WordPress. Web. 26 Jan 2013.
funny baby face. theNumber1Web. 26 Jan 2013.
Learning Difficulties of Color Blindness. 2010. EduGuideWeb. 26 Jan 2013.