The Library Fee

We go to the library every week. Every Monday, to be exact.

I love, love, love our library.

All my books are there! No really. I donated my entire book collection to my local library several years ago. I went on a decluttering binge and decided to store books at my library rather than my shelves. (I did keep all my old children’s books though.)

Anyway. Library love.

And how else would I work through all 386 recommendations of your favorite children’s books from the comments on this learning to love books post? (Because I’m a part-time nerd, I made a spreadsheet* and sorted them by number of times a book was mentioned. We’re about a third of the way through the list. We uncovered some wonderful gems that were new to us! The Gruffalo and Press Here are Crappy Boy and Crappy Baby’s favorites so far.)

What? Oh yeah, the library story…


So we are at the library and waiting in line to checkout.

The woman in front of us goes up to the counter and says:


Ha! I probably do too.

The librarian tells her the amount. $4.50


And the woman freaks out. Full of apologetic excuses.

She tells the librarian that her four-year-old got the flu and so she couldn’t come last Friday and she meant to just drop them off but it slipped her mind… and you get it.

Now, it is important to note that she was not trying to get out of the late fee. She was simply flustered by the whole situation.

In fact:


She was embarrassed! Ashamed even!

And let’s be honest here. She had every reason to be ashamed!

What good, responsible mother allows a $4.50 late fee to happen?

She leaves.

It is our turn:




See? $12 is more like it. $4.50 is just plain embarrassing.



That was the highest late fee I’ve had…so far.

On a related note, I used to think that paying late fees benefited my library directly. It is a donation! Turns out that in many places, library fees actually go to the city, like parking ticket fines. This makes paying the fees much less charming. However, some libraries are able to use fees for maintenance and operating costs. Check with your local branch to find out where the money goes if that matters to you.

*If you want to see the children’s book spreadsheet, you can view it on Google docs right here: Non-Crappy Children’s Books (Please Note: I only added info from the comments. I didn’t fill in author names if they weren’t given and I didn’t spell check or blah, blah, blah. I also haven’t updated it if more comments have been added recently. And I probably missed some. There are mistakes and I don’t need to know about them. Use at your own risk! By viewing this spreadsheet you agree not to complain about it. Deal?) 

This entry was posted in crappy pictures, outings. Bookmark the permalink.

207 Responses to The Library Fee

  1. Charity says:

    Ok, so I thought it was donating to the library as well, so I’m definitely going to have to check into that. Thanks so much for the spreadsheet! As I was reading that you made a spreadsheet I was thinking that I wish I had one, so that’s awesome!

    We have read a lot of the books on here already, but out of the 10 books we normally get on our weekly (Tuesdays) library trip, maybe 5 of them are winners. Good to have something to go off of.

    • Jessica says:

      I was a children’s librarian until I had kids. Each library has a policy on donations. If they aren’t able to use the books in the collection, it typically goes to the Friends of the Library group to be used for book sales. Which typically ends up being used for the library. So rest assured book donations are appreciated. Just not in the way you expect.

      • A says:

        She refers to the money of the late fees, not the books.

      • teagansmomma says:

        I’m a Friend of the Library! I absolutely *love* the Spring Books sales in the county below me. You can get bags of books for $5! Such a deal. (I always feel really bad that the books that don’t get sold go to the shredder. 🙁 )

    • BarbiY says:

      we go to the library on Tuesdays too! (mainly because it’s the story hour for little brats day *snicker*)

      • Charity says:

        That’s our story time too! We break the rules and take our 3 year old. I think it’s for kids 4 and up. Oh well…

  2. Heather says:

    I had a hefty late fee last year when I couldn’t find a book. I wound up having to buy it and just my luck it turned out to be out of print. It was over $35! Learned my lesson after that one, all library books stay on the same table in our house.

    • deeda says:

      Next time, check used books or!

      • Erin says:

        Not all library allow patrons to purchase the lost items themselves – so check with them before you do… 🙂

        • Erin says:

          *libraries (sorry 🙂 )

        • Ava says:

          Totally true. When I lived in Mississippi and lost a book, I bought it and the librarian was very happy that I replaced it. I lost a children’s board book over 2 years ago, bought one online, and went to the library (now in Memphis). Because the board book had the slightest of wear (due to the way it was packaged, probably) on the edges, they would not accept it. Thing is, after any baby got ahold of it, it would look like it’d been through a war, so I really didn’t see what the big deal was, especially since it was a brand new book. We had to pay the lost book fine and keep the book — which I didn’t even like anyway!

    • Micki says:

      I’ve had to replace MANY childrens books at the Westchester, IL library. I’m surprised I don’t have an entire section with my name on it!

  3. Angela says:

    OMG thank you for that spreadsheet! I remember that post and at the time I wrote down several titles and then forgot to go back through the comments.

  4. Sevender says:

    Darn, you busted my fantasy of being a supporter of my library. Sigh.

  5. katie says:

    I often have late fines and I justified them because I thought I was helping out my library! I thought late fees went towards buying more books for them! I’m going to call and ask.

    • katie says:

      🙁 The fines go to the Macomb County and then they are distributed among all the libraries at the the end of the year. So they *do* go to the libraries at least, but not my neighborhood one alone.

      • Lisa says:

        If you are referring to Macomb County, Mi I’ve shelled out a ton of money. Had 6 or 7 books in my car when it was stolen then destroyed. JOY! By the way, car insurance doesn’t cover library fines!

  6. Sarah Almond says:

    My new gig is as the children’s librarian at the library here in town. I literally can walk to work and it’s part-time so I can still theoretically do stuff like write my blog (HA HA, theoretically!) I’m so going to check out your list-and share! Not to mention that I still need to get my director to order your book for our library! 😀

    PS-Our library does fees like donations.

  7. christine says:

    i’m scared to go to my library right now. i finally turned in my book, but i have a *huge* late fee. it’s hard to find the time to read with three kids! i finally had to force myself to read it one day, because returning it un-read with that big fee attached? UNACCEPTABLE. the fee would have been pointless then…. 😉

    • neal says:

      I get you, Christine. Before kids, I used to check out books and read them. Ah, that sounds so novel.

      Now I see a book I would have read in another life, I check it out, and it makes a nice ornament on my bed-stand for three weeks. Or if I’m really lucky, it gets used as a secret pirate treasure by my little scurvy pirate for two months, and when I finally find it, I have to empty my kid’s college fund to get rid of the fee.

      ‘Cause how am I going to check out more literary decorations with holds on my account?

    • LM says:

      I can’t even get to the library anymore but the one I went to YEARS ago let me do payments once when I had a huge late fee. See if they’ll let you do that 🙂

      • marcy says:

        I don’t go either. I rather just buy the books, because really, by the time I either find them, or declare them lost, I’ll pay more. I also don’t go to redbox, because it ends up the same way. We just either rent or buy digital. It also means no scratched dvds.

    • Debra C says:

      My library gave us the option to have our checked out items show up in a reading list. It’s made me much less reluctant to return unread items (though I generally try to do it BEFORE I get late fees). I know that I’ll be able to go into my reading list later and check them out again and give it another shot.

  8. Megan O says:

    That sounds like my family too. We just found library books from, like, 3 months ago on my son’s bookshelf. Luckily, our library does “food for fines” where you can donate a food item for each dollar in fines you want to forgive.

    Oh, and “Press Here” is one of my son’s favorite. He gets so excited about it. We can’t read it at bedtime anymore because he gets sooo worked up!

  9. Jocelyn says:

    Eep, I’ve had a $40 late fee before because our library charges .20 an item and we had WAY too many items out for a couple of weeks. Whoops. We’ve been doing much, much better since then. I’ve only got a .40 cent fee on a book that we already turned in. 🙂

  10. Sara says:

    $125. Not exaggerating. Kids lost a Harry Potter book on tape, which was most of it, but the rest was just my neglect. Out library now charges fifty cents a day per book, so it adds up fast!

    • Alicia says:

      I think you beat me in fees. I’ve been at $80 before, but never lost anything.

    • Krista says:

      Whew! I was starting to think I was some crazy library outlaw. I don’t think I ever hit $125, but definitely close to or over $100 so not too far off. More than once. I was sick over it. Then I say “never again” and come up with a new “system”….or I say we need a library break. Now I have things going pretty well. I put our due dates in my calendar book and I make my hubby haul the bags of books back when they are due. So far so good, still have fines if I miss a date but I catch the mistake much faster now. It has always been a problem for me, but it is so much worse with kids because we usually have the library limit out. That adds up quick!!

  11. Ashley says:

    Love my town…we have a FREE library (DVDs have a $1/day late fee, though).

  12. Allison says:

    Love, love, love the spreadsheet. You are a woman after my own heart! As I watch my credit cards rack up with all the holiday gifts, I need to be reminded what a great resource our library can be. Now, I just need to go log in and renew the ones I have out to avoid fines…

  13. Di says:

    Crappy baby hanging from the counter. AWESOME! It’s all in the details. My kid does that, too.

  14. Ann says:

    We have over $30 in fines right now across multiple cards. I think of library fines as my charitable giving for the year. 🙂

  15. Rach says:

    It’s true, the girl at our library told me only recently when I joked, “Here’s my weekly library donation” that the fees actually go to the city, not to them. I’m in Chicago, maybe this is only a larger city thing? I mean, it goes into one large “city pot” and I guess it benefits the library indirectly. But it was disappointing that it didn’t go right to them.

    Thanks for sharing that spreadsheet!

  16. beka says:

    I have a $25 fine right now. Last time we went to the library, my son picked out a shark book he was sooooo excited to read. Little did I know he had snuck a pair of safety sissors into the back seat…..the shark book was in shreds by the time we got home.

  17. Kim says:

    Wishing I had little kids again! Thanks for the spreadsheet; I will have grandchildren someday, after all (hopefully not for at least 5 years or so though or at least until my 20 year old son decides what he wants to be when he grows up). Love the fact that some of the books I loved as a child are on there (Mrs. Pigglewiggle) as well as some of my daughter’s favorites (Skippy Jon Jones, Junie B. Jones ~~ what is it with these Joneses, anyway?)

    • Charity says:

      Skippy Jon Jones is a really fun read. You get to do a lot of voices with that book since he pretends to go to Mexico to hang with a gang of chihuauas. I haven’t read the Junie B. Jones book yet, but that’s going to be the next one I look for since we love Skippy Jon in our house!

  18. Kara says:

    I always have late fees because despite having the time to go, taking 6 little children to the library is just way too much work! I gladly pay 15 cents a day in late fees until I have time to go alone or with just the older 2. Unless I have 20 books all overdue, then 15 cents a day each adds up really fast lol. And we never get movies anymore because $1 a day late fee is not worth it, plus my kids broke a dvd and I had to pay $25 to replace it.

    Right now one of my children’s cards has $20 in fines on it. So we don’t use it because we can’t check stuff out if we have over $10 in fines. I think I’ve paid the library about $50 in fines this year already.

    • Robin Hastings says:

      Check to see if there is a book drop in your area – that might be easier than returning to the library. My library is clear across town, but there is a book drop 100 feet from my apartment in front of our local Hy-Vee, so I can return books easily. That has to be easier than corralling the kids for a non-checking-out library visit!

  19. Bookharlot says:

    I was a children’s librarian for 10 years and hardly anyone knows that the library doesn’t get to keep fine money. 🙁 there is probably a Friends of the Library group that will take donations and use the money for books or children’s performers during Summer Reading!

    My last library did not charge overdue fines on books, only movies. It was a joy to tell people they didn’t owe us anything for a late book! It was less of a joy to tell them they had $60 in DVD fines…

  20. Meg says:

    Thank you for the spreadsheet!!! I was totally going to ask for it. 😀

  21. Alison says:

    My library suspends privileges for accounts owing more than $10. So, my highest balance as been 9.50.
    Right now it is $3.

  22. Jana says:

    I love our library too. And embarrassingly, I’ve lost my card. However, small kids (6 and under) get their own card. and they NEVER pay late fees. Which rocks. I highly recommend talking to your library about doing this. We’re in Baltimore with Enoch Pratt Library if you want to check that out. Sucks for me, but rocks for the kids. Which is probably why I don’t know where my card is.

  23. Abby says:

    I had a great experience with late fees recently. Over Thanksgiving we went to our library to get books. When we went to the desk and handed over cards I mentioned the late fees, the librarian told me she’d look. After using all 3 cards she hadn’t told me about any fees (I know that there was at least 1 book about 2 weeks late), when I asked about them she told me, “Your kids are actually checking out books, not a single DVD. I love to see kids reading, so I waived all your fees.” (Note that my kids are older, 8 and 11). She was so great, it really made my day.

  24. Claire Donlan says:

    Our library (in the UK but they may not all be the same here) doesn’t charge children late fees at all. Which is just as well as my kids books were due back in May…

  25. Meghan L. says:

    I definitely have a $10 fine right now. :/ I should really get over there and pay it.

  26. Melody says:

    I have library cards with two library systems. When we first started going to the new library, I let my girls check out 3 DVDs (they were situated right by the check out counter like the candy at the grocery store). Sigh. I was two days late returning the DVDs. Turns out this library has steep late fees for DVDs–$2.50/day. I was out $15 for that.

  27. Dawn says:

    I’ve worked in libraries in 4 different states (KY, SC, GA, OH) and I’ve never heard of fines going to the municipality rather than the library system. Interesting….maybe it’s only common in certain parts of the country? The system where I currently work doesn’t charge late fees on children’s books, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I’m at the library five days a week and I still can’t get all of my kids’ books back on time! 🙂

    • oldlibrarian says:

      It differs by state and even by county. I worked in a library in rural Ohio 1994-2001 and fees went towards what we called ‘petty cash’ for buying supplies and unexpected operating costs. Now I’m in a suburb of a large metropolitan city and fines go directly to the county.

  28. M says:

    I love our library and they have a policy of no late fee for kids books which makes me love them even more!

  29. Tina says:

    you should check out “Rhyming Dustbunnies”, “Let’s Sing a Lullabye with the Brave Cowboy,” and “It’s a Tiger!” next week.

  30. Leslie says:

    Um…the last time I paid late fees for my family it ended up being $46. LUCKILY our library system lets you pay online with your credit card. Because, I mean, who carries $46 in cash right? And nobody got the flu. I’m just lame. And yes, I know I could have renewed those books online. And yes, we live exactly 1 mile from out library. I have no excuse.

  31. Emily says:

    Went to the spreadsheet and it said I had to view it in simple mode because of the number of people simultaneously viewing it. Guess I’m not the only one who’s looking for a shopping list. 🙂

  32. Sabine says:

    Our family loves the gruffalo!! Did you know that there is a sequel called the gruffalo’s child!? Also, both books have been made into half hour movies, and if you’re ever in the market for more gruffalo merchandise, amazon sells some! We became gruffalo enthusiasts after my daugher’s kindergarten teacher introduced it! Hehe

    • Julia says:

      My kids love the gruffalo! And the movie is really great. When I first heard about it, I thought it would be impossible to make a movie out of such a great book, but it turned out to be wonderful. We have lots of Julia Donaldson’s books, I’m thinking about getting some of the english versions (I’m German) so my older kids (11 and 8) can practise their English.

  33. nemiha says:

    I had to see what my late fee was after I read this. lol
    A few months ago I asked the librarian how high the late fees could go with out me having to pay for them and she said $30. guess I will be only paying late fees once a year from now on 🙂

  34. Annie says:

    LOVE this post, glad you enjoy your library. I’m a librarian and the fines we collect go to the County coffers too, but no worries, the budget we receive from the County is MUCH larger than the fines we take in. We also have a Friends of the Library organization to which people can donate and those funds are dedicated solely to the library, many libraries do.

  35. Grace says:

    At our library we don’t have to pay the late fee every time we check out books, they just keep a total and keep adding to it. I always have a balance on my account. I usually wait until it hits around $15 and then I pay it off.

  36. Bo says:

    I still have the first library book I checked out at age 3 – Curious George. The book got lost, we moved several hundred miles away, blah, blah, blah.

    In the new city we found it packed up, and I read that book over and over. My three younger brothers read it over and over. It became a staple. Then, we moved again, and we lost the book.

    Fast forward 30something years, and I find the book in a box of my mother’s things. Fast forward another decade, and I’m back living in my hometown, in possession of the book, and the library from whence it came is still up and running.

    I really, really, really want to show up there with the book to return it and watch what happens. I’m afraid they’ll actually take it back though, and, well, I’m kind of attached to it at this point.

    • jill says:

      That’s a great story! You could buy a new copy and donate it to them!

    • Alicia says:

      Where’s the “like” button when you need one 🙂

    • Marge L-W says:

      The library staff will laugh! The book was replaced long ago and the record of the particular one that kept being moved and lost is long ago expunged from the library records. Just keep what you’ve got and if you are moved to, make a monetary donation so the library can buy something that kids of today will adore (like the 100 list). I’m a children’s librarian and we get a sweet story like this every decade or so. Go guiltless my friend!

  37. jo says:

    In Henrico County, Virginia, they take library fees very seriously. Ours were $150 on my card and $75 on my husband’s card when I was in grad school and using lots of books for long periods of time. I paid off my husband’s so we could keep going, and then luck out when the library got a new computer system a few years later. A clean slate meant I could get new card. Since then, we have moved to a small town in Vermont in which we have access to two public libraries. One does not have fines but they “remember who you are.” The other maxes out fines at $2, but I always give them more, out of residual Catholic guilt.

    • Tom P says:

      Yay Vermont! My only gripe is that I can’t stop into any library in the area and take a book out like I could do when I lived in the other Vir…. state. Each town has it’s own library and we have to pay a yearly fee to use the better library next town over.

    • Charity says:

      I lol-ed at residual Catholic guilt.

  38. Lindsey says:

    I love my school library for fines – Santa Clara Uni in Nor Cal, while they don’t have kid books, obviously, they do have a “food for fines” event a few times a year. For every can of food you donate for the food-drive, they will waive $2.00 worth of overdue fines. Which I think is wonderful, even though I’ve never checked out books and so have never had a late fee (don’t think I don’t do my work though – I just only ever really need articles which I can get in PDF format, or a chapter of the book so can just read it there)

  39. Carrie W says:

    That is so amazing that you donated all your books! I’m going to have to think really hard on this one, I might just do this after the new year!

    Also, SPREADSHEET!!! Thanks so much!!!!

  40. Alan says:

    I donated several boxes of books to our local library a while back, thinking they could make use of them (some of them were practically mint copies). Not one went on the shelves. They were put out on a rack and sold for 10-25¢ apiece. It seems they have a policy that only books purchased with allocated funds can go on the shelves. I bought back a couple that it had been hard to part with in the first place. They deserve better.

    • oldlibrarian says:

      Each library has a different policy on this as well. Often the library has too many copies of a particular title and they are sold. Money made from used book sales goes towards buying new titles, which sadly, isn’t much at 25 cents/book.

    • MargieK says:

      That’s probably because most libraries purchase books with a special “library binding,” one that can withstand years of being used over and over. It may be possible to pay to have the books you donate re-bound; I can’t remember, but I’m guessing the cost scares most donors away.

    • Julia says:

      I work in a small library (in Germany). We do accept donated books but not all of them go into our “system”. That is because we have limited space and because not all donated books “fit” our library. We pick the books that might be checked out (instead of just clogging the shelves) and the rest is sold at our yearly “Book-Sunday”.

  41. Jo says:

    Oh no, I hope that’s not true about the library fines here :/ I always have a lot – even though you can renew online if you’re late, I never get around to that either.

  42. Wendi says:

    The libraries in our city really want people to come to the library and there is a big campaign to draw in more people. Many people get afraid to return to the library because they are afraid of their owing late fees. So they have a cap they will charge AND you don’t pay for any fees under $10. So I owed 10.90 the other day (because we lost a book), and just had to pay 90 cents. Soooo just an idea out there for other libraries perhaps.

  43. Kristina says:

    “By viewing this spreadsheet you agree not to complain about it.”

    LOL! I love you for taking the time to make this and then sharing it, I printed it out and will work off it, already put several on reserve! Thank you!

  44. Christina says:

    We take weekly trips to the lubrary too but it’s just for the kids. I learned that I get zero time to look at grown up books while my kids terrorize the library. (The 22 month old climbs shelves…)

    I now am a huge fan of eBook downloads. I can request books online, get an email notification to download it to my Kindle, and then it returns itself! Voila! No more late fees and I don’t have to leave my couch! I probably go through 3-4 of books a week. I can’t believe it’s free! 🙂

    Now the kids late fees are another story…

  45. Jess says:

    During the months of November & December my small town library will waive fees up to $20 for canned food donations. It’s one can per $0.50 owed. They in turn donate the canned food items to our local food pantry that helps those in need every week. I usually don’t have a fine, but take several items each week when I take my daughter to check out books.

  46. Kristi says:

    No my fee is more like it! LOL My son lost a movie and we were late with like 20 books. We owe $35 right now. It happens.

    And here, fines go to the city not directly to the library.

  47. Jen a.k.a. Mom the Merciful says:

    In San Antonio, TX, the late fees go into the city general operating expenses. I was so disenchanted when I first learned. However, our library has an awesome cataloge and it’s easy to resevere online so that when I remember a title after the kids are in bed I can reserve it rather than try to manage them and search the shelves at the same time. Thanks for the spreadsheet! We all devour books!

  48. Brandi says:

    I am a library director, and our public library is part of a library system where the fine structure is determined by the system. Fines collected go into our operating budget. They are not a donation. Yearly, when projecting our budget income for the next fiscal year, “fines collected” are estimated as an income based on the last year’s figures.

  49. Anna says:

    I checked out two of these little tv screen things preprogrammed with kids’ shows. One had Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and another was on bullying. Then I moved. I couldn’t find them. They were marked as lost. They refused to renew them. My husband finally took them back 2 days ago and they wanted to charge him $275. Seriously!!! For replacement costs, even though he had them right there in his hand. One was missing a cord (it was missing when I checked it out – I didn’t care because the other one had its cord. That was a mistake.) so they charged him $14 for that. He refused to pay the replacement fee and asked to speak to the next person up since the lady was being rude with him. She got a talking-to right in front of him for how she treated him. 🙁 I’d been emailing back and forth so the head lady knew what was going on with them.

    The library had a policy of no late fees on books, however, once they go overdue, you can’t renew anything!!! Which means that if I have a DVD that ISN’T overdue, but a book is, I can’t renew the DVD. So then the DVD becomes overdue and then I owe. Boooo.

    • Anna says:

      He refused to pay the $275 replacement fee. He did pay for the cord, even though I’d shown the librarian that it was missing when I checked it out.

  50. Lisa Lutes says:

    I refuse to move out of this house EVER because it’s right across from an amazing library. My main reason for not having a 3rd child is because we would need a bigger house and I need to be able to walk to the library every day!

  51. Claudia says:

    Only $12?! I definitely paid a $19 one recently. And managed to go 3 weeks without another one! But then I had stuff due two days ago…and probably won’t be to the library till Wednesday. Whoops. :). But, we can read away our fines.

  52. Lori says:

    Our libraries in San Diego have a fine forgiveness Friday program where they will waive your late fees if you turn in your overdue books on the last Friday of each month. Our libraries also email a reminder that books are due 3 days before the due date to help you remember. The only time I had a major fine was when I changed libraries and the reminder email went into the Spam filter…$20, because we usually borrow 20-30 books each time we go. Love our libraries!

  53. Ariel says:

    Thank you so much for the spreadsheet!! You are so so thoughtful to share 🙂

  54. Kristin says:

    wow, some people have had huge fines! feel for them! our record was $17 from one lot of books 1 day late, and then a second that I missed the reminder email, and only remembered when I got the one week late notice! whoops!

  55. Kaaren says:

    Our local library in Vancouver does not have late fees for kids’ books taken out on a kid’s card, but it does stop you from taking out more books until they are returned. We donate to the local library anyways, and I’d rather do it that way than via fines.

  56. Sara Gibson says:

    Oh my goodness. . . we also go to our library every week, and I currently have $24 in fines! And that’s just on my card. I had to pay $10 on my son’s card last time just so that we could take some stuff out, because they have a rule that you can’t take anything out if you have more than $10 in fines. (Don’t worry, he’s paying it back by shoveling the snow off of our long rural driveway) I’ve never had such high fines before! To be fair, it’s not all late fees. $10 is the replacement fee of a CD that my 3 year old broke right in half. . . D’oh!

  57. Melissa says:

    I love love love that you created a spreadsheet! Makes me feel slightly less dorky for the fact that I organize my life in spreadsheets. Grocery list? Spreadsheet with department where each item is found so I can easily sort! Chirstmas cards? Spreadsheet so I can mail-merge to a document and print envelopes! Wedding planning? Oh, that was the mother of all spreadsheet workbooks. RSVPs, budget, timelines…it was a thing of beauty! 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      Also, thanks for sharing your spreadsheet! I’ve already downloaded it! My son chose “Go Dog Go” and “Monster at the End of This Book” just last night!

  58. Amy says:

    I love that Crappy Baby is hanging off the counter. My son does that everywhere we go, and he is no baby anymore, more like boy. (sigh) Just a little detail that send your blog into greatness. Thank you!

  59. Gabrielle says:

    Wow! I am feeling lucky, now– my library emails when your things are late, and you can totally renew online and buy more time (unless someone else is waiting for the same item.)
    In fact, when I have time to go online and request books– from any branch in our system– then they are there waiting for me right beside the front door. I can grab them on the way to the children’s section, and never have to make the kids behave while they are bored! Library love.

  60. Jackie says:

    I love how Crappy Baby is hanging on the counter. 🙂 Exactly what my kids do.

  61. Kerry says:

    Thanks for the PSA about fees! I almost always have a fee when I go and also thought of it as a donation and a cheap way to long-term borrow books, instead of buying them. 😉

  62. Nikki says:

    I consider anything under $20 a welcome fine. When you’re writing out checks to cover 75 bucks and 40 bucks, multiple times a year, a $4 fine would be wonderful! I used to not feel awful about it because I was under the impression the money went to the branch I paid in. I was still making out like a bandit for unlimited entertainment but apparently the money goes to the main county library and is then dispersed for expenses. Unfortunately our branch was built new about 15 plus years ago so they get nothing but now need a good bit. Worse is if they have money in the Friends account it just sits and goes unused because they can’t get approval for any projects.

  63. Gretchen Barr says:

    As a former library worker, don’t feel bad about a $12 fine. I’ve had a balance high enough that I couldn’t check things out from the place I worked. That was embarrassing.

  64. Alicia says:

    For the LA county library system (not sure about LA city) the late fees are cheaper on a children’s library card. 10¢ vs. 25¢

  65. Andrea says:

    I’m going to have to check my library’s fee policy too. I’m pretty sure we’ve financed their new roof. Our lab “read” two library books a month ago. Total cost for that to replace the two books- $52. Not counting the fact that I am a habitually late returner (usually only by a day or two), I think we deserve a plaque for donating!

  66. Kim S. says:

    My worst fee was $54….and another time I had to replace 3 children’s books to the tune of $68 after my son drew in them.

    • Laura says:

      your library checked the books for drawings? Mine doesn’t! I’ll give them a book if the pages are falling out ( they just tape them back in most of the books are very old because my children are random at choosing books). we got a book with no words and my 4 year old decided to ” write” the story. I haven’t heard anything!

  67. Cat says:

    Is there a way to save the spreadsheet to my google docs?

  68. woolies says:

    I’m too embarrassed to admit what our most serious late fee was. In fact, I only remember that it was WAY more than $12. I’m pretty sure there are still at least one library book on my oldest son’s shelf – he is at college. 🙁

  69. Karen B. says:

    Here’s a fun fact, I live in Union, MO, and our library doesn’t have late fees or fines. As I was typing this it didn’t seem right, so I looked it up. Turns out, my library does not have fines! Eventually they’ll charge you the replacement cost, but we’re talking after they’re l-o-n-g overdue.

  70. Ami says:

    Pfft. I’ve had way bigger fines than that. And I’m the Children’s Librarian.

    Our fines and fees go to the city, too. And, every year, we have to submit a write off report for fines deemed uncollectable (over 7 years old). The people still owe them, but it’s taken off the city books. The city commission always throws a fit at the amount (thousands and thousands of dollars!) and wants us to reduce the checkout limit. We have to patiently explain (again) that the people who check out a lot of books return them, or pay their fines. It’s the people who check out 3 car repair manuals, which are expensive, who decide not to return them, and couldn’t care less if we revoke their privileges.

  71. Cristina says:

    I’m probably the only English teacher on the planet who doesn’t have a library card. I’m not allowed one any more. I have racked up 100s of dollars in fees. I even donated some very rare and very expensive old books that I used for my masters dissertation to be allowed back inside my university library. No kidding. I gave it one more shot now that I have two little girls who love books. It didn’t work. My husband is now demanding I shred the card. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t seem to return those darn books on time. So, now I have to treat the library like a play ground. Go, read, leave books there, go home. Didn’t finish a book? Go back. Or write down the ISBN number and order my own copy. It’s actually cheaper that way.

  72. Jan says:

    My library system does not charge late fees. Period. No matter how late the book is. Ever. Never, ever.

    If you have overdue materials, you may not check anything else out. If you wait too long to return a book, they will eventually turn you over to some collection agency thing. But if you bring the book back — magic! You are immediately approved for borrowing again! If you pay for a lost book and you find it within TWO YEARS and bring it back, they will refund your money.

    I win! I win the library awesomeness!

  73. Cherish says:

    Our library has seperate types of library cards for children and adults. If a book is taken out on a child’s card, there are no late fees, no matter how late it is taken back. They also don’t charge you for damaged books if you take them out on a child’s card. Presumably this is to encourage more children to read/more parents to take their children to the library.
    (Unfortunately this doesn’t benefit us at all, as my daughter’s library card is in a perpetual state of Lostness, so we always end up using mine. And I ALWAYS get charged, even though you’d think they’d gather that “Pigeon Wants a Puppy” probably isn’t for me.)

  74. musica_al says:

    Your boys would like Battle Bunny- new book by Jon Scieszka

  75. Heidi says:

    I worked for our public library for several years, and as an employee, you could keep books out as long as you wanted without any fines. Boy, was that a tough transition when I quit. “Due date? What is this due date?”

  76. Hannah says:

    I had a late fee a few months ago that came to $61. Now THAT’S embarrassing.

  77. Heather says:

    Darn! I thought I was donating, too.

    Thank you for the link to the book spreadsheet!

  78. Mary Dickerson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that spreadsheet!

  79. Seattle Public Libraries — or at least some of them — tell you to bring back board books or keep them. Whatever. I think they’re afraid of germs. Or they’re hoping to create book addicts. Most people bring them back. A lot probably bring their kids’ books along with library books as they outgrow them, thus perpetuating the circle of book giving. No fines, though, for books for babies and toddlers. I think it’s cool.

    I don’t use our libraries much, though. I’m a book buyer — and actual books, not e-books. I view them as my eventual legacy. I have thousands of books of all types except mass market paperbacks. And when I die, it’s in my will that they will be donated to either a Native American reservation library or another rural underserved library in need of a fairly extensive ready made library of fiction and non-fiction. Libraries are so great I want to be able to leave one to a place that needs one. Then people like you can turn books in late and pay late fees so that they can keep buying more books.

  80. Rachel J says:

    No fines on children’s tickets here in the UK, which is lucky!
    Years ago, I moved house, complete with a box of library book I forgot to take back. And forgot……and forgot….. About two years later I had a letter forwarded to me from the library with a demand for £125 in fines. I confess I did take the books back, but left them on the counter and ran away, never to return!

  81. Raven says:

    No worries. A few summers back, I checked “The count Of Monte Cristo” out for my then 16 year-old son (weird story why he didn’t have his own library card at the time…) He took said tome (and it is a whopping 800 or so pages long) with him to the National Boy Scouts Jamboree. It was late. Very, very late. So late, in fact, that I dreaded taking it back. And when we did, the fees on it were $40 dollars…and he still had not finished reading it!!! But he desperately wanted to! So I ended up forking out another 20 bucks for his OWN copy…He did eventually finish reading it, and loved every long, drawn out description in there…So don’t beat yourself up too much. $12 is not a lot in library fines. 😉

  82. Karen Hom says:

    Wow! Our county library does not charge fines EVER for ANYONE! The only time you pay is if you damage or lose an item.

  83. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the spreadsheet Amber! I had that post marked to go back and create a list. I’m so thankful you did it for me as I don’t know that I would have ever found the time. I’m excited to work our way down the list!

  84. Jocelyn says:

    I wait and pay my fines in NOV or DEC. Our library does Food for Fines. Each donated can of food knocks off $1 of your fines (up to $10) and they donate all the canned food to the local food bank. I don’t mind paying my fines that way. In fact I paid to today $10 total.

  85. mairin darlington says:

    oh man. my highest was $60.. i love books so much too, but at the time we had no vehicle, it was cold weather and we always get sick. i’m pretty sure i have high late fees right now, in fact… always love and adore your work 🙂 <3

  86. g says:

    thank you so very much for creating that spreadsheet. i have tried to keep track of books that i have seen mentioned but have not been successful. Thank you again

  87. Courtney says:

    I just went to the library today and after turning them all in I had a late fee of $22. She said it had come to about $1 per book (when checking out for myself, my husband and two kids.)

  88. C Smith says:

    We once had a library fine of $187.00. That’s what happens when you have 7 kids and they each get 3 books and you get 10 for schoolwork, and then you “lose” them in the back of your van for several months.

  89. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for the google doc!!! My amazon “Children’s Books” wish list just got so much longer!!

  90. Amy says:

    I asked about fees because I’m terrible for not keeping track and our library dies get some of the money. Now our council offers free ebooks through the library website and these automatically return. I still have to remember to take back the kuds books but it’s saved me some $$

  91. Amy says:

    Does not dies lol I hope.

  92. Jo says:

    No late fees for overdue children’s books here in my part of London – we’d have to be much more vigilant about taking them back if we had to pay or I’d be broke! As for me, haven’t even contemplated borrowing a book. Still haven’t finished the one novel I was given for Christmas last year!

  93. I sub at a small town library where my mom is the library director and head librarian so one would think that I would be a model library patron. Nope. I just finished paying my $31.50 fine and am currently working on building a new balance. I do know that library fines at our library are used for library expenses such as new books and media so I just tell myself that I’m supporting my local library. Not willingly, but you know…

    • Rachel says:

      Ouch! At our library one of the perks of working there is no late fees for staff. Otherwise I would be in the same boat as you are. I am guilty of having overdue items on my card right now. This is ridiculous since I am there almost everyday!

  94. Heather says:

    My library wouldn’t let me replace a “lost” book. That wasn’t their policy and they wanted to charge me $25. I didn’t want to pay out of principle and used the kids cards for a while. The book was a favorite, so when we went to check it out again sometime later, we discovered the “lost” one right on their shelf and they waived the fees. After that I use the online library system and just renew stuff online if I can’t get down there. We lost another book and I continued to renew it every three weeks for over a year until we found it under the toddler bed when they got bunk beds. I also check every time I turn stuff in to make sure it comes off my account since they are REALLY bad about not checking in the return books.

  95. Sarah T says:

    The only time I ever had a library fine was when I was 5. I checked out a Frog and Toad book, and it got lost when we moved. I guess that really stuck in my brain, because now I’m obsessed with making sure we return or renew our books on time. The silliest thing is the cap on fines for kids’ books is $1, so it wouldn’t be that bad if my kids lost a book for a while, even.

  96. Maggie F says:

    We have had much higher fines. Before…if the kids were sick I would give the books/videos to my husband to drop off (as the library was on his way to work)…now I don’t do that as he once racked up a $50 charge on our cards! I could have bought the books and the movie for that price!

  97. Michelle H says:

    We LOVE the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child! They are cute in movie form too. My son can mimic the British accents of the characters.

  98. Andrea says:

    Just dropped off a book today and had $4.00 in late fees! Too funny…..I was a bit embarrassed too….that is, until I read your post…, thanks for that. Lol

  99. Averil says:

    Check out the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd, she’s a New Zealand author who has legions of fans here, justifiably so! My sister loved them when she was little, now my son adores the stories. Brilliant pictures and fantastic rhymes, recommend to all. Not sure if they are easily available in the US, can get them on book depository though!

    • Bronwyn says:

      “It was drowsily warm, with dozens of bees, lazily buzzing through flowers and trees/ Hairy Maclary decided to choose, a place in the shade, for his afternoon snooze….”. LOVE Hairy Maclary.

      • Robonanny says:

        All Lynley Dodd books – Hairy Maclary, Slinky Malinki, Zachary Quack etc – widely available in the UK. Slinky Malinki was my son’s favourite book since he was about 8 weeks old till he was three!

  100. Late fees? I don’t pay em. What I mean is that when I use my son’s library card, there are none. But of course I only use it for his books 🙂 but now I’m thinking I should slip a few of my own in.

  101. Nickol says:

    $122. Yep, we got the notice this week. My son is a reader but not a returner, and i think they upped the fees at the same time. This is why we shouldn’t go to the library. Ever. It is literally cheaper to get a Kindle for the child and let him read freebies from that.
    I’m going to go and ask them if they can give us a frequent reader discount. Yikes! Maybe I should start a fundraiser.

  102. Wendy M. says:

    I took away my husband’s library card when he ran the fees up over $40 for the 3rd time in 2 years. It’s currently sitting at over $75. He’s constantly getting books for himself and the kids out, but doesn’t keep track of them. So we have to pay the fines and replacement fees. Then we find them a year later… Unfortunately, our library no longer allows you to take the book back and get a portion of the fees back. So we now have a home library of library books. :/

  103. Charissa says:

    OMG, I can’t believe that Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman didn’t get a book mention! I missed the earlier thread or I’d have mentioned it then. Seriously adorable book.

  104. Lisa says:

    This is just like me, except my fee is usually $20 or more. Lately I’ve just been borrowing ebooks. It’s kind of awesome because there are no late fees and I never have to put the kids in the car. And it kind of sucks because there are no actual books, just words on my iPhone. Lame.

  105. Lisa says:

    Oh! And I wanted to share: my daughter’s school has a kind of brilliant system. They’re only allowed to take one book at a time. And they can’t get a new one unless they return the old one. It sucks because ONE BOOK?!? But also, we are really good about returning the books. Unlike at her preschool, where they were only supposed to take three at a time but they were really lax about it and we always forgot that we still had books at home and just yesterday I found a book that we borrowed from preschool and never returned because the toddler was ripping it to shreds. And my daughter graduated from preschool last June.

  106. Brandi says:

    I think the library sets me up to fail. You can keep a book for 28 days. The only month with 28 days is February. My books are returned on time in February. The other 11 months. No.

  107. Cat W. says:

    My mom used to have fees that topped $30. She listens to a lot of books on CD while driving to work.

    HOWEVER, one day she didn’t have any when she knew she did. She asked and found out that her library STOPS CHARGING LATE FEES FOR PEOPLE OVER 65. Seriously! Looks like they just lost a nice revenue stream from my mom! We still laugh so hard about that.

  108. Patty D says:

    I had $36 once, but on the other hand you are right the $4.50 is more embarrassing. LOL.

  109. Rachel says:

    What a fun post – and lots of interesting comments on the different fine systems. The library that I work at (OH) only charges fines on music CDs and DVDs ($1 a day, it adds up fast) – because they are our most popular items and we want them back in a reasonable amount of time (checking out the newest release and not returning it for several months is NOT reasonable). I agree with one of the other librarian posters – it’s great to say there is no fines on late books. We do have a guilt jar for those who insist on paying something. Late fees and donations do go to help our library – not to a general fund.

    Also when donating materials, see if your library will write you a receipt for tax purposes. The library cannot put a cost down, but they can note how many items you donated. The library may not be able to add all the materials to their collection (we only have so much space!), but they are used in many different ways to support your library. For example our donations will be added, put in the book sale, children’s books are used as prizes, some books are taken to the local nursing home and some to a prison, and some are sent to our partnering libraries who will add them to their collection.

    On a final note here is a new book to add to your spreadsheet “Count the Monkeys” / Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell. The end is hilarious!

  110. Jenny says:

    Oh your late fee makes me laugh! 🙂 I just paid $15 the last time we went to the library. Because we had turned in movies late. And apparently they charge WAY more for movies being overdue. I actually went to check out books one day and was embarrassed because I didn’t have enough cash to pay up, so couldn’t check out my books. Then for a few more weeks I avoided checking out any books until I had the cash. Even though we’re there every week for preschool story time and I should know to bring the cash and just pay up!! I know, pathetic. Lol.

  111. Pam Snedeker says:

    Thanks for the link to the spreadsheet – lots of interesting titles. I have added Matthew McElligott’s titles to my Amazon wishlist. I thought “Backbeard” must have been a hilarious typo, so I looked it up. Nope – “Backbeard, the Hairiest Pirate Who Ever Lived.” Too awesome!

    I heartily agree with “anything by Shel Silverstein,” but be sure you know what you are asking for if you request any of his stuff on interlibrary loan. When I learned he started out writing for adults, I wanted to see some of his early work. I went in eyes open, but my poor local librarian….the shock..”Oh, Shel Silverstein, how nice, I love his writing…oh my, I don’t think I’ve read THIS one..” Title “Playboy’s Shel Silverstein Around the World”. Also, “The Big O” (it’s not what you think). And this one even has a disclaimer in the title “Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only .” Great stuff – thought-provoking. Regrettably, I cannot say the same for his music with Dr. Demento. 🙂

  112. Gail says:

    $236. I wrote a check for that amount to my library for fines. Yes. I win in this terrible game we commenters are playing. And I also used to feel okay about the fines, thinking that the money was going to buy new books, but like you, the money goes to general county government. My library keeps a record of fines paid for each account, and I am never, ever going to add up my fines. I am ashamed of myself, but I am apparently not changing my ways! I sort of feel like the fact that I have four kids who all read a ton sort of makes up for it, but it doesn’t. Thanks for the funny post – and the spreadsheet!

  113. Gretchen says:

    My 11 year old had a $50+ fee over the summer. I nearly had a heart attack! It turns out that after so many weeks, they just charge you for the price of the book. Fortunately it wasn’t lost, so we were able to get the charge reduced. The rest of the fee she worked off by doing a summer reading program, for which one of the prizes was a $10 fee forgiveness.

  114. Echo says:

    I am obviously not responsible enough to utilize a library properly. Other than our first trip there, I paid a fine of $3-$15 every time we went- until the last time. $42. I still haven’t paid it. >.>

    I avoid the library entirely now.

  115. Um, yeah. I think I own our local library branch based on the amount of “donations” I’ve made over the years. I’m going to be pissed though if I find out my late fees have been going to the city rather than supporting the library directly. Grrr…off to do my research.

  116. Brandy_P says:

    Skeleton Hiccups and A Beasty Story never fail to please.

  117. Alyssa says:

    I can’t go to the library anymore. I wrack up too many fines EACH TIME. I hit $125ish once, that nearly went to collections, because we moved in the thick of it and I lost CD’s, and had books and movies buried in my mini-van somewhere for months. It was bad. I recently tried to go again (my kids had no memories of the library…they were either not born, or too young) and boom! Fees all over again. I can’t be trusted.

  118. Liz says:

    I was about to comment to ask you to share the spreadsheet…but you’d already shared it! Thank you, thank you!!!

    And I thought the fines were basically a donation to the library, too. D’oh! Going to have to check into that.

  119. Laura says:

    I’ve had a few late fees this year. one I got an email about a book that was due and I forgot we even checked it out, so I had NO clue where it was. genius me decided ti locate the missing book, which I couldn’t, instead of just renewing said book online. I eventually did that, four days and a dollar later. we never even read the book!

  120. Amanda says:

    Thanks for sharing your spreadsheet, it’s awesome!!!
    Always love your posts!

  121. Sarah says:

    Have you seen the animated versions of gruffallo and gruffallo s child? They are brilliant!

  122. jenny says:

    My library, in the UK, has no late fees (or damage fees) on a children’s library ticket! (…and they don’t seem to mind if you use it for grown up books too.)

  123. Pip says:

    We had a huge late fee from kids and husband borrowing dvds from the local dvd hire shop so I banned them from there and they started borrowing dvds along with their books from the library.

    So a few weeks ago a letter comes in the mail to hubby from the council and I open it, figuring it was for both of us. There was a $98 overdue fee from the library for books and dvds. *sigh*

  124. Robonanny says:

    Books I’d suggest adding to your list (which I forgot to add to the original post!) – everything by Doreen Cronin and Graeme Base.

    Doreen Cronin’s are deceptively simple tales about animals, but her character Duck is as subversive as you like. “Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that type” is awesome. “Dooby Dooby Moo” needs reading first so you appreciate that some of the words are supposed to be sung rather than read.

    Jez Alborough’s character Duck is also hilarious. Try “Fix It Duck” or “Duck in a truck”

    Graeme Base wrote books for his own kids, so they start simple: “Animalia” is basically a picture book but stunning, and I think your kids would love the environmental message in “Sign of the Seahorse”, but my favourite of his books is “My Grandma lived in Gooligulch”. It helps if you read it with as good an Australian accent as you can muster – the rhythm is amazing.

  125. Brenda says:

    Could be worse! The libraries in Portland, OR send library late fees to a collection agency!
    I didn’t realize that I had a $6 late fee and moved out of state. By the time the collection agency found me across the country in Vermont, the bill was over $40! And, of course, it showed up on my credit report. I banned myself from checking out books for over 5 years because of it.

  126. Zoe says:

    Amber, if crappy boy loves the gruffalo you must carry on with Julia Donaldson’s books – they’re our favourites by quite some way (not just the kids but me and him as well) – especially Room on the Broom. She’s amazing 🙂

  127. Kelley says:

    Have you read “Library Lion” by Michelle Knudsen?
    I enjoyed looking at your book list… we have many of them, and they’re our favorites as well.
    I was so embarrassed by my last library fine… it was less than $5, but it had been more than a year that I owed it!!

  128. Amber says:

    I once lost a children’s book, kept going to the library and trying to pay for it (well, I tried three times). Each time the librarian nicely suggested I just keep looking for it and not worry, they even changed something so I was supposedly not continuing to have a late fee. A few months later I got a letter saying a warrant was going to be issued for my arrest if I didn’t return/pay for the library book. Seriously? Arrested for losing “Gregory the Terrible Eater”. After that they finally let me pay for the &%$# book — which I found right on my son’s bookshelf awhile later.

    I have big fines, but I nearly had to go to jail for mine! 🙂

  129. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for including your spreadsheet! That was the part of the post I was most excited to hear about (not because I don’t love your illustrated stories, but just because I also really LOVE spreadsheets AND books!) so I appreciate not having to remake it by hand 😉

  130. Jenn says:

    Gruffalo is our all time favourite too. Did you know they made a movie of it!?

  131. Ally says:

    Too funny. There was a death in our family recently, and our library books completely slipped my mind. A couple of days ago I remembered, and called them, saying “Our books are 5 days overdue, can I renew them so our fine doesn’t get worse than it already is?” They told me we didn’t have any fees! This was a library we’ve only used a few times, so I finally looked it up to find out that they don’t charge late fees, but just charge you for a replacement after 19 days overdue.

    I somehow missed your favorite children’s books post from March, so just started going through it and making a list. Then I was thinking, wow, Amber already compiled this list – I wish I could just have a copy of her list! You don’t have it anywhere online, do you? 🙂

    I have missed a lot of these books. I want to start looking for these at our local libraries. I think my 2.5 yr old son is (maybe) finally getting past the destruction stage. I’m so looking forward to the Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site – my son LOVES trucks.

  132. Joanna says:

    When I was in high school I once racked up a $44 fine… my mom banned me from going to the library after that.

  133. Diana says:

    My 8-year old wants a BB gun (I’m not ready for this…) My 5-year old wants an XBOX 360. Demanding much? Ha.

  134. Charlotte says:

    I want to high-five your children’s book spreadsheet so hard! Thanks for the new recommendations!

  135. Jen says:

    Love it!

    We go about once a week too. But I HATE dragging my kids through the grown up book section. I have to literally (and I do mean literally) pull them down as they climb the shelves.

    But…I discovered a neat trick. At my library you can put books on reserve through the online catalog. Then, when we are done playing with puppets, picking out kid books, looking at the fish tank, and picking out $1 DVD rentals for the kids, we just breeze by the hold shelf and I pick up my books. NO MORE SHELF CLIMBING! HOORAY!

  136. Heather M says:

    So funny! I was just at the library today…late books from over the holiday…kids were sick…$4.80. 🙂 I’m hoping they buy more kids books with my “donations”. Now I’ll have to check.

  137. Char says:

    I love going to our local library. They have a separate children’s building and the kids can make as much noise as they want. Which is a good thing. Because my 3 year old thinks that a reasonable response to “Ssshhh,” is to talk more.

    I love Press Here. Another one of my faves is The Book With The Hole, by the same guy.

  138. HG says:

    2 books to recommend…

    The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett (great christmas one) we have a tradition of the elves leaving us a present on Christmas eve: Pair of PJs and a new bedtime book. This book was last years.

    The author also wrote the Princess and the Pig. Another winner.

  139. Mary Clare says:

    $12! That’s nothing. I had overdue books that I kept for about a month past the return date. Poor library etiquette, I know. The library sent me polite emails telling me about the overdue status. Inevitably, I’d forget or not make the time to go. I got a nasty letter that keeping the books was a punishable offense and that they’d take the necessary steps (whatever those may be…) if I didn’t return the books. Oops. It indeed shamed me into getting me to return the books ASAP.

  140. Thillygirl says:

    I love your posts. I’m surprised your City can use fees collected from library fines for anything else but library related charges. There’s are rules and reporting requirements in California that prevent this.

  141. Ann says:

    A reminder to those of you who struggle with getting books back on time–you can renew them! Most libraries now are set up so you can renew online–if not, give them a quick call. It’s easy!

  142. Marissa says:

    I checked out your list…. need to add Room on The Broom to it 🙂 Same author as the Gruffalo and they have had a wonderful play adaptation touring here in Australia. One of my kids’ favourites!

    • Marissa says:

      Oh…. and also Tower to The Sun by Colin Thompson…very insteresting take on teaching environmentalism to children.

  143. Tobi says:

    I’m so glad you gave a link to the spreadsheet!! When you said you made one I was like, “OHHHH must have!!” I’ve wanted to look at the books from that post but couldn’t handle the tedium of going through all the comments. You’re awesome!

  144. Meghan says:

    I used to work in the public library as a children’s librarian until very recently. A lot of libraries offer special programs for kids to “read down their fees” or other similar ways to help kids get fines off their cards without having to actually pay money.

    Our library system used a portion of late fees to pay for children’s and teen programs.

    Truly, public libraries in communities all across the U.S. have taken MAJOR financial hits, so both your continued use and vocal support are really, really important. Thanks to all the library users!

  145. statgirl says:

    Wow, you feel bad about $12? I’ve gotten up to $25 — which at our library is the cut-off for not being able to place any more holds or check out any more books. When I found out I was on probation, I was horrified, and I quickly paid my fees (we can use PayPal online, love it!) so that I could keep using the library. I don’t know what I’d do without our local library.

  146. erickajen says:

    this is so funny because i considered telling you that i donated YOUR crappy book to my local little itty bitty library!! 🙂 and i donate books there a lot. and movies. i got rid of almost all of my “cant watch it while the kids are around” movies to the library too. 🙂 donating to libraries rocks!

  147. Cathy says:

    When I was a teenager and discovered how amazing the library was I would go just about every other day. There was no limits on how much you could take out. I would have stacks of books, cds, and dvds/tapes at all times. I was a week late on returning said stack. I went to take out more and the librarian told me I had an outstanding balance( you couldn’t take out anything if it was over $15), expecting to hear $18 or something, she said $94.15. My mouth dropped. Damn cds, dvd/tapes!

  148. Des says:

    Dude. Duuuuude. $47.00 just last month. And that is NOT the largest one in my history of library-lateness. That one was three digits, not two.

  149. TrikkiMotiv says:

    I think this might have been a bit backwards…at my library, every single librarian HUMILIATES me by saying my account is “delinquent”. I can’t blame them, because on their computer screen when they scan my library card, there is almost always DELINQUENT written in all caps under my name. But for $0.75? That’s a mega harsh word, dude. And do you need to say it so loudly? This is a library…

    I put up with it because it’s still cheaper than Amazon Marketplace, but the shame of it…the shame. I’ve been tempted to run up a larger bill just so I could stand there and proudly fork out a reasonable sum in $1 bills (that might make me look like at least I’m a really successful stripper on the side maybe? Not just a hopeless library nerd/disorganised mother?). But then I read the comments here and saw people running fines of over $100. I can’t hope to compete with that, or I’ll have to stop going, so RISPECK…

  150. Beth says:

    Ha-I work in the library (well, currently on maternity leave) and regularly have fines of £20 plus…. (think that’s about $40..!) ANd I don’t even get fines on my card, becuase I’m staff, just on the kids’. Even when I’m there every day for work I often fail to renew. So worry not!

  151. Naomi says:

    You’ve all made me feel so much better about our fines! lol. I think our library is deliberately plotting to get me. What library in its right mind allows ANYONE – none-the-less a child – borrow 16 books at a time? The maths and probability on that one are against me before we’ve even begun.

  152. Beth says:

    $12 is nothing. My highest fee ever was $28. My excuse? I gave birth and totally forgot about my older child’s library books for about a month.

  153. XLibrarian says:

    Just weighing in as a former librarian–in the library system I worked for, the fees definitely went to the library where you paid the fines. There was no budget for building repairs (sigh) so every fine went towards building maintenance there.

    But yes, it depends on the library. Ask your circulation supervisor there! They’ll tell you! Libraries are awesome; thank you for talking about them.

  154. Jamila says:

    ha. HA, I say. I currently owe over $200 at the library. And just paid off over $100 on my son’s account.

  155. Cynthia812 says:

    I am sooo grateful that our library doesn’t do late fees on books (it does on movies), especially because it is in the next town over. And you can renew the books online. The library here charges $.20/day/book, which is why we almost never go there, even though it is two blocks away. It is also much smaller.

  156. elisabeth says:

    Ha and lordy i think that was me in front of you, with the $4.50 fee. Either that or the exact same situation recurred elsewhere in the world. keep up the good work.

  157. Trisha W. says:

    I love being able to renew books online to avoid late fees. I also like the libraries with drop boxes.

  158. Heather says:

    That is why I do self check out and pay with a credit card.

  159. Megan O says:

    I just found out my fiancé owes $28 in late fees on the kids’ books that he forgot to return. My card only had a $3 fee. 😉

  160. Dayna says:

    That reminds me! I need to renew my book! 😉

  161. Pingback: A Selection of Great Blog Posts January 2014 | Consumed by Ink

  162. Susan says:

    I haven’t paid a late fee since discovering this website:

    You put in your library card numbers and it sends you an email when a book is due! Awesome! Even if I cannot get to the library I can renew online.

    By the way, love your blog!

  163. I am a school librarian and I work part time for our city’s public library. The number of stories I have heard about how even the smallest fine was accrued are truly hysterical. Our school library only only charges if books are lost or irrevocably damaged and I use the money to buy more books. Not all schools are like that though. Our city library is allowed to use most of their fines money but it isn’t as easy to explain how. My usual response to people who are having guilt-riddled feelings is this: life happens. No biggie. I won’t hold it against you as long as you pay and don’t pull any of that “pay just enough to get it under the maximum amount allowed” crap. Those people suck. Do they really feel ok letting it sit at $9.99 indefinitely?