Ribbon Cutting: How I Donated a New Wing at My Library

Yesterday, my local library hosted a ribbon cutting to dedicate the new NATALIE Wing of the building*.  Now before you go congratulating me for my largesse, understand that I didn’t intend to independently fund the new addition…my OVERDUE fines paved the way for this architectural marvel.

Friends, it’s true: I volunteer at my library once a week and STILL manage to have overdue fines that rival the GDP of some small countries.  I’m physically unable to bring back books on time despite innovative methods–a few on the library’s part–to keep me on track.  I tried the automatic online renewal, by-phone renewal, and stacking the books on the table near my front door once I finish reading them–all to no avail.  It would be cheaper to just BUY the books (in hardcover!) rather than borrow them.

What makes this whole situation more absurd is that I’m a frugal shopper and won’t pay retail price for anything.  I’m a meticulous record keeper and love organizing things, so what is it about library books that I can’t wrap my head around?!  Do I have some deep-seated library resentment?  Is it a passive-aggressive borrowing issue?  I need some therapy.  Paging Dr. Freud…

Please tell me that I’m not the only bookworm on the planet who pays extortionate overdue fees on library materials.  With my luck, you guys probably don’t have a single blemish on your library card (and don’t have cavities or parking tickets either, right?!?!). 

*a teeny bit of hyperbole may have been employed during the writing of this post

33 Comments

  • At 2009.08.09 07:58, elizabeththeconqueror said:

    You aren’t alone. I think I still have fees due in the library that I haven’t been to in three years.

    • At 2009.08.09 08:36, Brittanie said:

      Don’t feel bad. I always end up with library fines too. I use the online system when I remember. Part of mine is it takes me a long time to get them read usually and I have them out the full time allowed and sometimes I still have not read them. lol I have to fit them in between my review books. You would think I would have learned my lesson and only check out one or two. Nope I think I have six out right now. 🙂

      • At 2009.08.09 08:39, Molly said:

        You are SO funny!

        I wish I had some tips to help (I use flylady who offers a weekly library reminder, if you think that might be useful) – but then again, I do not have a wing named after me 🙂

        • At 2009.08.09 08:50, sagustocox said:

          I’m sure there are many of us with overdue fees. I don’t currently have any at this new library, but I used to rack them up all the time at other libraries. Just couldn’t seem to get there to return the books.

          • At 2009.08.09 10:12, Kerri (Book Ends) said:

            I’ve had to banish myself from the library. Honestly, it is cheaper for me to actually buy my books at Costco than to pay library fines. I’ve actually wondered if overdue fines at the library can affect your credit rating???? LOL.

            • At 2009.08.09 10:17, vivienne said:

              I am really good now with my library books, because I got fed up of paying more for the books than if I actually bought them!

              • At 2009.08.09 10:34, Samantha said:

                Don’t feel bad…I get library fines too! Especially when I let my kids check out dvds. That seems to be the clincher to big fines in this household. Good luck figuring out a way to cut down on them 🙂

                • At 2009.08.09 12:05, Amy Reads Good Books said:

                  Ha! Great post. Yes, my library fines used to be absolutely terrible. Fortunately, the e-mail alert we get from the library now actually helps me get those books back on time.

                  • At 2009.08.09 22:26, Ti said:

                    I’ve opted to turn something in late just because I am still reading it but not often.

                    • At 2009.08.09 23:00, Marg said:

                      I am not sure why but I don;t seem to get fines unless they are high demand books. I think they realised that I was single handedly increasing their circulation and so they didn’t want to discourage me from continuing to do so.

                      • At 2009.08.10 02:30, bybee said:

                        LOL…..you’re not alone. I was always in Dutch with my American libraries. The 4 year hiatus must have done me good, because I’ve been fairly dependable about meeting the due back date. Of course, since I’m a teacher, I get 1 month. Students get 1 week. bwahahaha

                        • At 2009.08.10 06:00, Care said:

                          I recommend you move to my town. The overdue fines are so ridiculously low that I feel more penance is required when I return late books. When they tell me I owe $1.70, I usually give them a $20 and say keep the change. (I rarely have overdue books, tho)

                          • At 2009.08.10 07:11, debbie said:

                            Our fines are awful. Just awful. We just consider it a donation to a worthy cause and try not to think about it.

                            • At 2009.08.10 07:37, Meghan said:

                              I’m actually fairly good with library fines, probably because I go on the website all the time. It’s only 15p a day though, so I have certainly had times where I don’t feel like walking out to the library and thus will figure it’s worth it to have the book for one more day. I just really hate spending money for no reason, so as a result I’m good about the fines!

                              • At 2009.08.10 09:18, Megan said:

                                OK, I really think I need to start going to the library just to have the fines to talk about! I’m sure I’d be in that boat with you, if only because I have a tendency to procrastinate until the very last moment.

                                Love your new header image, by the way! 🙂

                                • At 2009.08.10 10:47, Emily said:

                                  I would have huge late fees but luckily my library has no late fees!!!! There’s no charge for bringing a book back late just as long as you bring it back! But, you do get emails and phone calls until it’s returned.

                                  • At 2009.08.10 10:56, Tracie said:

                                    I almost always have late fees and I’m at the library once a week! Somehow, I will forget the books or I will forget when they are due (even though I get email messages). I figure that I’m donating to a cause that I enjoy, so it is good faith.

                                    Or…maybe…deep down, I think I should keep them and hate to give them back 🙂

                                    • At 2009.08.10 13:15, Holley said:

                                      In many cases, library fines are tax deductible since the library is a nonprofit organization…might be worth a look!

                                      • At 2009.08.10 14:17, Hayden Tompkins said:

                                        Er…now I’m afraid to admit the last time I even checked out a library book. Um, or walked into a library.

                                        I’ve kind of switched to the bookstore.

                                        • At 2009.08.11 09:27, bermudaonion said:

                                          I think deep down inside you just want to support your local library! I rarely use mine, so fines aren’t a problem for me.

                                          • At 2009.08.11 17:06, Lisa said:

                                            I’m forever racking up library fines because I have a tendency to check out too many books. Then I really don’t want to return them unread so I keep renewing them online. Then I run out of renewals. But they’re such good books, I just can’t bear to part with them! Too bad no one else can read them while they’re just sitting at my house, all sad because no one is paying any attention to most of them!

                                            • At 2009.08.11 22:56, softdrink said:

                                              I’m mad at my library. They are now charging 50 cents for EVERY hold. And since their selection is crap, I was placing a lot of holds.

                                              There will be no funding of a new wing by me. I’d rather buy the book. Which I realize makes no economic sense, but oh well.

                                              • At 2009.08.12 07:29, Jessica said:

                                                Oh no! Overdue fines are the worst. I started putting slips in my books with the due date and how many pages the book is. It seems to have organized me a little better, but I still end up bringing back more than I read.

                                                • At 2009.08.12 19:54, Jessica said:

                                                  a teeny tiny bit?

                                                  • At 2009.08.13 14:24, Kathleen said:

                                                    I love your post. When my libary underwent major renovations about 5 years ago I felt like I was at least partially responsible for the new wing as well! I never feel too guilty about my library fines because I am supporting the library!

                                                    • At 2009.08.14 00:22, Anastasia said:

                                                      LATE LATE LATE for a very important…post. Heh.

                                                      Juuust wanted to gloat that my public library system no longer has any late fees! Huzzah! That’s saved my butt a few times, lemme tell ya. (They do go after people who don’t return books at all, by the way. Refer them to a collection agency and everything!)

                                                      On the other hand, my university libraries have late fees, though I’ve managed to dodge them a few times with multiple renewals. *cough*

                                                      And. I do have, um. Some fines from when I was younger (i.e. so young I had to use my parents’ cards to check out books!) but I have no idea what happened to them. I assume my parents paid them off, but they’ve never said they have. It’s caused me some guilt trips, sure.

                                                      I suppose I’m a by-the-skin-of-my-teeth kind of person? 😀

                                                      • At 2009.08.17 11:58, shmode said:

                                                        Cavities, yes, library fines, no. But that’s also because as a homeschooler we are in the library at least once a week and have made it a habit to check what’s done and due before we go.

                                                        Our fines are 10¢ a day per book, so menial.

                                                        • At 2009.08.18 16:00, Hermie's Mom said:

                                                          I’m right there with you. I will actually be making a trip to the library today with a pile of items that are building my overdue fine balance as we speak. It kind of negates my position that I can check out books I know I’ll never get to read in time because they’re free…

                                                          • At 2009.08.18 21:58, melanie said:

                                                            I’m a librarian, and I can tell you that we anticipate fines when we create our budget! – so, think of your fines as a contribution to your community.

                                                            Even though I’m at the library every day – if I couldn’t yank things around a little, I’d be leaving a good chunk of my paycheck behind…

                                                            • At 2009.08.22 03:05, Sandie said:

                                                              I share the same problem. And worse than that – I’m an active member of THREE libraries. So I’m a very generous patron of three institutions.

                                                              • At 2009.09.04 15:35, Literate Housewife said:

                                                                Precisely why I don’t use the library. I’m convinced that I’d eventually have to leave the country to evade the library fine police if I were to ever become a frequent patron. I had many fights with my mother when my overdue notices would arrive in the mail. Many, many arguments.

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