Public Libraries & Me

Date: 16/04/10
REMINDER: LIBRARY ITEMS DUE BACK SOON
According to our records the following items are nearing their return date.
Please return or renew them as soon as possible as fines may be charged on overdue items. Please be aware you may not be able to renew your items if the item has been reserved or your account has expired.
Please contact us if you have any query regarding this notice.


Recently, I received this noticed for three days prior to my books reaching the deadline for their return. I have loved public libraries for almost as long as I have loved books, but I must confess, I have not always been diligent about returning my borrowed books in a timely fashion. The first thing I got when I began my transition from America to England was a library card for the Cornwall public library. I began checking out books right away and I must admit I have been late getting them back a couple of times, but nothing too horrible or so I thought until recently.

This time as it drew close to the return date, I began receiving email updates each day letting me know it was almost time to return my books. When I got the first one I thought what a great idea, but with another coming each day, I began to wonder if I was on some sort of list. You know, the kind where someone out there feels like you might need a little instruction or guidance to put you on the proper path.

I decided I was being a bit silly thinking that this might be some sort of behavior modification program designed for people like me until I returned my books yesterday on the last and final day before they would be overdue. And while I can’t say for sure, I think I might have seen a look pass between the two librarians along with a subtle head nod if you know what I mean. Now I am wondering if there’s a repeat offender list for book borrowers … and if so, am I on it?

Bought or borrowed, I hope you are getting your nose in a few good books and I promise if you ever loan me one, I won’t keep it so long that you have to ask for it back.

11 thoughts on “Public Libraries & Me

  1. Seeing as how fines have gotten a bit brutal on books, I suspect its a case of enlightened self interest…but not that it’s about you personally.

    My nose is deep in books about lighting…and specifically jewelry books, to look at lighting. Hmm. Maybe that is just an excuse to look at jewelry??

  2. In yesterday’s paper, Peanuts was great! Sally is walking along enjoying her day and smiling and the final caption is “Happiness is a library card!” How true!

  3. I just noticed a story over at the BBC news website about George Washington, the first American president and how he never returned two library books he borrowed 220 years ago. The fine today would be about $300,000.

    George, George, George, I may be chronically late, but at least I don’t keep them.

    ” The New York Society Library says it will not pursue the fine. It would simply like the books back.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8627835.stm

  4. I read that, too. Funny!! So far our library fines aren’t too bad, ten cents a day, but since I usually take out 13 to 15 books at a time, it could get a little costly if I wasn’t diligent. I had one week I know the books were one day overdue and I tried to pay the fine and they insisted I wasn’t overdue. Who am I to argue with them? One of the little towns near here gives you a one day grace, but they said they didn’t have a grace period.

  5. I’m reading _The Uncommon Reader_ by Alan Bennett, which was recommended by a comment here at your place. It’s very good.
    Although I have an up-to-date library card, I tend to buy books from yard sales or used online. Whenever the urge to read falls upon me, all I have to do is pull something off the shelf.

  6. LOL! Maddie and I are library addicts, but whenever we go we try to avoid getting served by one particular librarian, she’s very, erm, grumpy!

  7. I have a real problem returning books to my library on time. The one near our house is closed for renovation, so I have to go a bit further afield — and with its strange hours and my strange work schedule, I am never able to get the books back on time (they have no “drop,” either, which I find unconscionable!!!).

    Luckily I found that the public library system here has a grace period until your fines reach 15 euros . . .so so far I’ve not had to pay. But because of this growing amount, I’d pledged to myself not to take anything out when I returned my books (late, of course) last time. But of course something else caught my eye . . .

    Glad Mrs. DoF is enjoying The Uncommon Reader!! Alan Bennett is a national treasure for the English.

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