What Happens if the Library Lost a Book You Returned?

If you check out a lot of library books, you should be concerned about the possibility of the library losing or misplacing the book before it is checked in. Some of these books may be quite expensive. Libraries can and do misplace books without checking them in.

I have had this happen a few times. The first time I told the librarian I was fairly certain I had returned the book. She checked the shelves and found it. The next time I absolutely knew that I had returned a book and they again found it. Recently I returned a magazine and after a month it has not been found. Library books are regularly misplaced and lost after they are returned. What can you do if the library loses a book that you returned?

Make Use of Your Library Receipt

Keep the printout that the librarian gives you when you check out books. When you are ready to return the books, put one book at a time into a bag and then cross it off the receipt. Once you have crossed off all books, immediately take the bag and put it into your car. If you are not going by car, put the books somewhere your children can't get them until you are ready to walk out the door. Count the number of books on your receipt and count each one as you put it into the return slot.

This way, if a book does get lost, you can be 100% certain that you did return it. I knew that I had returned the lost magazine, precisely because I always follow this process. If I had not, I would have not been sure who was at fault.

If a Book is Lost...

If a book is lost and you know you returned it, talk to the circulation supervisor and explain that you use the above process, so you are 100% certain that the book was returned. A good supervisor will remove the book from your account. However, the fact that this occurred will be on your library record. So, if it happens again, they may not believe you.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself

If possible, try to find a library that has a very high return slot. Some libraries have slots that are so low, anyone can put in their hand and grab a book. Be careful using after hours book return bins outside a library. They can be very easy to reach into. You can also go directly to a librarian and have them check in each book while you watch. However, if you're like me and check out 20-30 books at one time, they may not be too happy about this. A library can report you to a collection agency, so you have to be very careful.

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Comments 5 comments

Victoria Stephens profile image

Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

You wouldn't expect a Library to lose books because it is their specific job to take care of them, but it does happen so it's good to keep a receipt if you can.x


KristenGrace profile image

KristenGrace 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Interesting. I remember this happening to me while I was in school, and of course no one believed I returned it because I was the kid... As an adult, hasn't happened yet.


Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 5 years ago from California Author

I have a relative who is a retired librarian and she said that disputes actually happened quite a lot where she worked. You would think they would be very careful about checking books in. But obviously a lot of mistakes occur.


lippydippy 3 years ago

This happened to me twice now. Once they lost a bunch of stuff worth over 200 bucks but luckily they finally found it like 2 months later! Just happened again and they are still looking for it. Can you imagine government workers in charge of our healthcare when they can't even manage to keep track of a library book? This is very scary!


Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California Author

lippydippy,

It's lucky they found those books. Since it's happened a couple of times, it might be better to just return all books directly to a librarian.

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