Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Mother of All Late Fees


As an assistant librarian I often have to tell patrons that they have a fine on their library card. Some people get all embarrassed and try to explain why this happened and how this isn't normal for them. Others just ignore me and I know that they have no intention of paying (as long as the fine is below $5.00 they can continue to check out materials). Others get all indignant and want to know EXACTLY why they are being charged .30 in late fines. What, exactly, was overdue. And then they argue that they most certainly did return it on time. We're talking about .30 here. Well, imagine my surprise when I heard the story of a man in Phoenix who returned books to his local library that were 51 years overdue. He had checked them out when he was a high school student! And along with those books, he presented a $1,000 check to the library to cover the late fines! How awesome is that? I love this man's integrity and giving spirit. I'd like to nominate him for library patron of the year. It's people like this who make working in a library a real joy.

13 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

Oh how I cringed while I read this!!! We occasionally rack up a buck or two in fines and always pay them without complaint (we may or may not feel the need to explain. I'm not saying.) But recently Lea lost a library book. She keeps renewing it online, so fines aren't accumulating, but it's as lost as lost can be. It's lost - because she is a slob who doesn't take care of or keep track of things. So *I* don't want to pay for the book - I want her to. I want her to explain what happened to the librarian and I want her to pay for it. I want this to be uncomfortable without being devastating. I want this to be her money, not a bailout. (Of course her card is attached to mine and I'm ultimately responsible and if the library ever asked me to pay, I would without blinking - but it seems to me that this should be on her.) So she's sort of on strike. Not doing her chores. Because "I won't get any money anyway, I'll just have to give it to the library." The fact that she OWES it to the library seems lost on her. Trying to be both a good mom and a good citizen on this one and it's not working out so well on either count!!! Any advice from the other side of the desk?

Karen said...

Okay, fine! I'll return "My Side of the Mountain" to the Gird Elementary library! I feel sufficiently shamed now.

:-)

Isk8Jewel (~Julie~) said...

That reminds me... I think I owe the library a whopping .50 for books I requested and totally forgot to pick up. lol.

boliyou said...

I agree that what he did was admirable, and it made a cute story. But wouldn't he have been a better library patron if he'd returned the books 51 years ago, and come in this week to present a $1,000 check "just because"?

tori said...

I'm always a little embarassed when I have a fine (probably because it shows what a procrastinator I am). Even if I mess up and turn them in late, I figure it's still cheaper than me buying the books. I love libraries!

RebeccaMom said...

That is great! $1000! Thanks for stopping by my blog on my SITS day, I really appreciate it!

Jamie said...

Love that story! It's awesome!

Anita said...

I heard of this and was also really touched by his generostiy. I have a late fee now, it's a book for a club meeting next week that I have failed to finish............I'm bad, but I always pay my fee and dont' fuss.

Anonymous said...

I loved this story! He could just have never returned the book or given $1000.00...how generous that he did both. FYI - I always pay my fines without complaint, actually I am usually mortified that I have any at all. I will admit though that I do at times offer an explantion. If the future perhaps I will keep those to myself.

Colleen

FranticMommy said...

Great story! I'll bet YOU could write a book just on your library experiences! You'be be amazed how many books I see at Thrift Stores with library pockets in them. Makes me wonder if there's somebody somewhere going "where IS that damn book!" :)

FranticMommy said...

hey!` I just had a moment of corniness. I have an idea for a fun game to play. If you were at library right this second, based on your mood or situation, what book would you be checking out? Right now, it would be "This Little Piggy" cuz DANG, I ate too much for supper. Yesterday, it would have been "Throw Mama From the Train..." (long story)or is that just a movie?

buhdoop said...

Wow, how awesome is that! Do you have the original story? I would like to read it.

Rebecca Jo said...

Stopping by from SITS...

Love that story... that's an honest guy right there! Must be a fan of books even still to give the $1,000

 

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