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While I was living in Auckland, New Zealand, I decided to get a library card. Public libraries don’t tend to be great at having books I want to read, but Auckland has some pretty fantastic libraries just from an architecture and public use perspective so I figured, why not? To make things faster, you can fill out a form online and get an ID number that references your application. I immediately proceeded to not do this, which turned out to be a good idea.

After filling out the form while in the library, it gave me a generic error message and erased everything I had filled out. I showed the librarian. She said “oh, we must have another Nathan Baker already in the system, and it’s confused”. I, skeptically, requested her to clarify that the signup system couldn’t handle more than one person by the same name. She confirmed.

The answer, apparently, is to add a number after my name. So I signed up as Nathan22 Baker. The number 22 was chosen by the librarian seemingly at random.

After we got it all sorted, I asked her why such a large library system (there are over 50 libraries in the Auckland region!) would have such a silly problem. She just shook her head and said “this is the way things are in New Zealand, mate”. So apparently they’ll spend millions of dollars building beautiful libraries with a convenient and fast way to borrow from any library in the system and a nifty online interface to bind it all together…and then build a signup system that blows up if two people have the same name.

Once I had lived in New Zealand for some time, I discovered that this was a very quintessentially kiwi experience and it is, in fact, the way things are in New Zealand.


4 thoughts on “Nathan22

    1. I don’t ever recall checking out a book. I did attempt to use the library for its presumed intended purpose once, but that will be a story for another time….


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