Long Overdue Library Books
Amazing Stories of Library Books Returned after Many Years
Mention "overdue library books" and many people cringe. At some time, most library users have a small delinquency, pay their fine and continue happily patronizing their library. A few with overdue books that never get returned feel a real twinge of guilty conscience. It weighs on their mind, but somehow the book remains in their possession. Years pass and the library gives up hope of ever seeing that book again.
Sometimes, like a miracle, the long delinquent book shows up at the library. The borrower wants to clear their record and do the right thing by returning the book. Here are stories of long overdue books being reunited with the library.
Graphic available on stickers from Zazzle: RETURN BOOK STICKER, OLD BOOKS ARTWORK by joyart
Famous People with Overdue Library Books - Even George Washington was a delinquent borrower
The father of our country is known for his "I cannot tell a lie" statement. We think that, of all people, George Washington would never keep a book that wasn't his. I'm sure the unreturned library book was merely an oversight, but it sure makes an interesting story.
Read the Rest of the Story at These Sites
- George Washington Overdue Library Books: Fine Would Be $300,000
NEW YORK -- If George Washington were alive today, he might face a hefty overdue library fine. New York City's oldest library says one of its ledgers shows that the president has racked up 220 years' worth of late fees on two books he borrowed, but n
- George Washington's overdue library book: A timeline - The Week
The first president never lied, but he also didn't return his library books
George Washington and His Overdue Library Books
ASK THE LIBRARIAN about Your Overdue Books
Answers by Virginia Allain
I had borrowed a couple of books from the library a few days before my aunt and uncle's house was destroyed in a tornado, and of course, my library books were inside (in addition to my computer which was found hanging off of the side of the house). I'm not sure if the librarian totally believed me when I showed up to pay for the books and explained that a tornado blew them away!
A photo or a news clipping might convince the librarian to forgive your fines in a situation like this. The library has to replace the items so paying for them is the right thing for you to do.
When my daughters were young, we somehow missed returning a children's book on time. I found it in my daughter's room about two months later. I couldn't believe how much we were charged for that well worn book. I could have gone to a bookstore and bought them a new copy for far less.
Some libraries do allow the borrower to bring in a substitute copy for a lost book. The additional costs of adding labels and cataloging complicate this.
I spent years not going to the library because we owed over $24 for overdue books. I finally paid that off and we visited weekly for a couple of years. I now find myself in the same boat. I don't owe that much but yet I've not made it to the library for many months because I owe fine for overdue books. I really need to pay that out of my next check as I have a list of books we were using in our homeschooling that we didn't get to finish.
First return the books so the fines stop accumulating. Talk to the librarian about a way to work off the fine if it's too big for your budget. Don't be embarrassed. They won't make you post a sign in your yard saying "I didn't return my library books."
What's the Longest Time That an Overdue Library Book Was Out - and then returned?
As far as I could find, the case with George Washington (above) was the longest with 221 years.
Here Are Some Contenders, But None as Long as George's Overdue Book
- Scottdale library book returned after 73 years - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
In 1936, a young Scottdale boy checked out a library book from school that sparked something deep inside of him. The boy loved the book so much he decided he could not bear to part with it so he kept it.
- Overdue library book returned in Sacramento 74 years late - Stockton Headlines | Examiner.com
Preparing for a yard sale, a 95-year-old Sacramento woman found a library book that her husband had borrowed in the 1940s. The book, "Seaplane Solo"
- Overdue Charles Darwin book returned to library 122 years late - Telegraph
Staff at an Australia library have been stunned after first edition copy of Charles Darwin's Insectivorous Plants book was returned 122 years late.
- Library Gets Back Stolen Book After 145 years
Washington and Lee University in Lexington got back a book on its shelves which may be the second longest overdue library book in the nation's history. It was taken during the Civil War.
This Book Was 99 Years Overdue!
Managing Library Overdues - Book for librarians (available from Amazon)
We may laugh about the idea of our first president having an overdue library book or be amazed when a book gets returned 23 years too late. For librarians, it is no laughing matter. Unreturned books are a real headache in the library. Usually it's a really popular title that goes out and doesn't come back. People keep asking for it and are annoyed with the library for not having it on the shelf.
The library sometimes dredges up the money to replace the most needed books, but often the book budget is already stretched to the max trying to get the new books people want as well. What to do? Read this book to find some solutions to overdue books.
What's the Longest Time You've Kept a Book Overdue - from a library
Vote in the anonymous poll
Library Book Returned 10 Years Later
What Should I Do about My Overdue Book?
- Return it. Don't worry about the fine or the librarian being mad at you. Just return it.
If you're embarrassed, drive up late at night and slip it into the book return bin or return slot. If the library doesn't have one, ask a friend to take it into the library if you just can't face the library staff.
The fines stop accumulating at the time you return the book, so the sooner, the better.
- Pay up. You will owe money for the overdue fine in most libraries. Many have a maximum fine, so it stops at $5 or $10. Look on the library's web site to see if that information is there or call and ask anonymously if they have a maximum fine on overdue books.
Usually they aren't going to charge you for every day of the 11 years you had the book out overdue. Let's see, at 10 cents a day X 365 days a year X 11 years, your fine would be $396. The library realizes that it is unlikely to collect that much from you.
- If the fine is a large one or you had many books overdue, see if you can negotiate with the library staff. Let them know it would be a hardship for you and ask if the fine could be reduced or forgiven. Usually you have to talk to a supervisor to get this changed.
Another option is to ask if you can work off the fine. Some libraries allow this, but many do not. The work arrangement might be to dust the shelves or polish the tables or some other low-skilled task. If you have some special skill, like being a PR person or can teach a computer class, then you might barter those skills to help the library in return for reducing the fine.
Fascinating Reports of Long Overdue Library Books Returned - Enjoy the videos
What's Your Excuse for Keeping the Library Book - past the due date?
Your answer won't appear right away. I have to remove the SPAM first.
Give Your Tip for Returning Books on Time
Suggested Solutions for Librarians
Professional librarians and circulation staff need this book to handle their overdue problems efficiently.
Here's a little humor on the situation with a shirt from Zazzle: Life is short- shirt by xylina
© 2012 Virginia Allain