Welcome to Day of the A to Z Blog Challenge. Today’s letter is O for Overdue.
Most of us have returned a book late. I’ll admit that I have kept a book I’m using for research for an additional day or two, returned it, and then paid the fine. It is never much and I hope the library can use the money for new books. But, that does not mean it is o.k. to keep books for extended periods of time.
Libraries offer the opportunity to renew books but they continue to have thousands of books that are overdue or lost. If fines were collected, they would be in the millions of dollars. That is why some libraries offer overdue amnesty. This is a controversial topic for some librarians. They think if amnesty is offered, then people will wait to return books. Other librarians say it is really about getting the books back. It is far more expensive to replace the books.
San Francisco Public Library offered to forgive fines on books and materials returned between January 3rd and February 14, 2017. Over 700,000 items were returned by over 10,000 patrons.Often books are packed away during moves then discovered years later when someone goes through a forgotten box. One such book was returned to the SFPL during the fine forgiveness period – 100 years late! Ironically, the collection of short stories was titled 40 Minutes Late. It was checked out in 1917 by Phoebe Marsh Dickenson Webb. Unfortunately, she died a week before the book was due and was packed away in a trunk where it was discovered by one of her great grandchildren. The fine would have come to $3,650.00 which was forgiven through the amnesty program. The library was thankful just to have the book back.
President George Washington borrowed a legal manifesto from the New York Society Library five months into his first term. It was tucked away in his Virginia home and library officials wondered f they’d ever see it again. Mount Vernon Staff finally returned it in 2010 which made it 221 years late. (They weren’t charged a late fee which would have been $300,000.00).
The Real Book About Snakes was returned 41 years late to an Ohio library with a note that read: “Sorry I’ve kept this book for so long. I’m a slow reader.” He included a fine payment of $299.30 which he had calculated at 2 cents a day for 41 years.
Days and Deeds: A Book of Verse for Children’s Reading and Speaking was returned to the Kewanee, Illinois Library 47 years late. The borrower paid a fine of $345.14 which the Guinness World Records lists as the highest library fine paid to date.
Libraries currently send e-mail notifications regarding overdue books. In the past, postcards were sent. How courteous!
Return your books. Don’t be like Splat the Cat and the Late Library Book
In this picture book based on the stories by by Rob Scotton , Splat realizes his book is overdue. He imagines all the horrible things that are going to happen so he tries to get out of a scheduled trip to the library. Fortunately, everything turns out okay when he returns the book.
See you tomorrow for letter Pp.