This Thursday I would like to talk to you a little about overdue books. I came up with the idea of this topic while working on the current overdue books this week at my library.
First off let me just say this, it happens. Life gets in the way, we get busy, our schedule changes and we forget to renew or return a book. No. Big. Deal. Really. If a librarian gives you a hard time about not returning a book, you are either a repeat offender or they are having a bad day. Try not to take it personally. Unless you are a repeat offender, then try to figure out why you can’t seem to get your books back on time and work on changing that.
Second, the most important advice I can give you is to return the book or item! Even if you can’t pay the fine, the library just wants to get their items back so it can be made available to other patrons. Also think how frustrating it might be for someone to be anxiously waiting on that book they want to read only to have it be held up by someone who forgets or is afraid to return it to the library.
But I’m afraid of what my fine might be? Most libraries will work with you on the fine, and usually you have to reach a certain $ amount before you even lose library privileges. Find an item that has been out for weeks or months? Worried that you might even owe more than the book is worth? Well try not to worry, most libraries have a maximum amount in fines an item can reach. For example my library’s fine are 10 cents a day with the maximum amount any item can rack up in fines is $5. Now if you have five things overdue that are maxed out it can still rack up, but at least return the book so the fine stops growing!
What if I’ve lost the book, or my new puppy ate it? Go into the library and talk to them. Again these things happen and you can always pay to have the item replaced. DON’T go out and buy another one to replace it though. Libraries often can get the book for cheaper through their distributors, and if your library is like ours they will only charge you what it costs them to buy a new version of the book you need to replace. We aren’t going to judge you, but we appreciate it when you are being honest with us! We want you to use the library and most librarians will go to great lengths to make sure any situation is worked out fairly for everyone!
Remember that overdue library books happen to everyone. Even librarians, and if we can’t get our book back on time when we freaking work there…well, see how we can understand your situation. However, keep in mind that in many states it is against the law to not return library books. Seriously. Now it is going to take a lot for a library to resort to turning you into the police, but it can happen. So just return the book. Even if you don’t want to face us to do so, drop it in the return box. At least the library will have their books back and you will have a clean conscience.
So what do you think? Are you afraid to return overdue library books? What is your library’s policy on overdues? Have any creative ways that your library lets you pay off fines? Share in the comments!