BOOKMAN: You took this book out in 1971.
JERRY: Yes, and I returned it in 1971.
BOOKMAN: Yeah, ’71. That was my first year on the job. Bad year for libraries. Bad year for America. Hippies burning library cards, Abby Hoffman telling everybody to steal books. I don’t judge a man by the length of his hair or the kind of music he listens to. Rock was never my bag. But you put on a pair of shoes when you walk into the New York Public Library, fella.
JERRY: Look, Mr. Bookman. I–I returned that book. I remember it very specifically.
BOOKMAN: You’re a comedian, you make people laugh.
JERRY: I try.
BOOKMAN: You think this is all a big joke, don’t you?
JERRY: No, I don’t.
BOOKMAN: I saw you on T.V. once; I remembered your name–from my list. I looked it up. Sure enough, it checked out. You think because you’re a celebrity that somehow the law doesn’t apply to you, that you’re above the law?
JERRY: Certainly not.
BOOKMAN: Well, let me tell you something, funny boy. Y’know that little stamp, the one that says “New York Public Library”? Well that may not mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole hell of a lot.
Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I’ve seen your type before: Flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What’s this guy making such a big stink about old library books? Well, let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me. Maybe. Sure, we’re too old to change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book, right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of pee-pees and wee-wees on the Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese Brothers? Doesn’t HE deserve better?
Look. If you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again. This is about that kid’s right to read a book without getting his mind warped! Or: maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld; maybe that’s how y’get your kicks. You and your good-time buddies. Well I got a flash for ya, joy-boy: Party time is over. Y’got seven days, Seinfeld. That is one week!