Overdue Book

Dealing With Overdue Books In the Nation’s Largest Public Library System

Sewell Chan's NY Times Blog reports on a program at the Queens Borough Library that for the past eleven years has utilized a collection agency and also sometimes refers extreme cases to a credit bureau.

In a related story, one overdue borrower sued the collection agency and won (on something of a technicality).

Readers are invited to reveal their own overdue book stories here.

Should an overdue library book affect your credit rating?

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Library books returned after 126 years

Chile has returned 3,778 books that its military had taken from Peru's national library - more than 126 years overdue.
Chilean soldiers pillaged the library in 1881 after capturing the Peruvian capital, Lima, during the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific.

High School Grad 17-year fine for overdue book

Now residing in Brooklyn, N.Y., Elizabeth Gifford enclosed a note in the package explaining that she'd recently found the book and realized it was from her high school library.

She wrote to the school librarian that she recalled the late fee on overdue books as 10 cents per day. So, she did the math.

Enclosed in the envelope with the book was a check to the Brooks High School Library for $620 - the accumulated fine since 1990.

"I couldn't believe it," Whitehead said. "She requested that the money, 'please be used for new library acquisitions.' "

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Harrison library charges fine for late mom's overdue book

When it comes to overdue books there are apparently no excuses - not even death - at the Harrison Public Library.

That's the lesson a town woman learned when she was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that had been checked out by her mother, who died before she could return it herself.

"I was in shock,'' Elizabeth Schaper said of the incident at the Bruce Avenue library branch. "This has rocked me to my core."

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Man vexed by 30 years of guilt returns library book, fines self

From Arizona Nearly 30 years ago, Brian Cogley checked out a book from the Donaldson Elementary School library and he finally got around to returning it last week.
Cogley, 39, borrowed "The Great Brain," written by John Fitzgerald, from the library as a fourth-grader sometime during the 1977-1978 school year with the intention of holding on to it for good.
"I really liked it," Cogley said by phone from Oakland, Calif. "As a kid, it was kind of twisted and dark and I was amused by it. I wanted to keep it."

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UK Library threatens girl, 12, with debt collectors

Bad PR From the UK. Tessa said: "Luckily, my daughter is the kind of girl who shows me things, but what about other children who may be too worried to show their parents? Or children who may just forget the letter and leave it in their schoolbag?"

She added: "I was really angry at the wording of the letter. My daughter obviously has no means of paying the fine, so I assume as parents they would expect us to pay. However, without a notice sent to us directly, regarding our daughter's fine, how can we be expected to pay or be held liable?"

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$1500+ For A Few DVDs

JET writes "Interesting One From CA: " To have a library fine of $1,505 - the amount Amy N. Smith owes the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library - requires an uncommon appetite for books or videos, and also a forgetful, crooked or oblivious state of mind.

Smith, of Hayward, said she was "screwed up" - bipolar and without medication - when she borrowed "a ton" of DVDs from the library last year. Now healthy, she said she does not "seem to have them" but will pay her bill.

Her $1,505 debt, having grown at $2 per DVD per day, is more than anyone else owes the library, according to a record the library provided in response to a California Public Records Act request. The database that includes Smith's fine and others changes when someone pays or builds debt. But the day it was produced last month, 32,185 different people owed a total of $626,196.

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Return that library book!

A News Story from Oklahoma says next week is "National Return Borrowed Book Week".
"Certain books just tend to disappear, like computer books and books on witchcraft."
Tahlequah librarian Lyn Arter agreed some books do seem to be more tempting to book thieves. "The Bible was stolen five times during my first five years here," said Arter. "I guess they'd never read the 'Thou shalt not.'"

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Stolen book returned after 150 years

Anonymous Patron writes "Stolen book returned after 150 years: An 18th-century legal tome has been returned to the North Carolina state Supreme Court 150 years after it was stolen by a Union soldier after the Civil War. "Report of Divers Cases in Pleas of the Crown Adjudged and Determined; in the Reign of King Charles II" is inscribed by Quentin Busbee, who served as the Supreme Court reporter in 1853, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. The book was published in 1708. The work was donated anonymously to the library of Indiana University. The only clue to its travels from North Carolina to Indiana is an unsigned inscription — "Obtained in July 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina.""

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Man pays 60-year-old library fine to make a point

WCAX - Burlington,VT Reports on that guy who returned his book 60 years late. An upstate New York man has returned a children's book he checked out of a New England library 60 years ago and paid 440 dollars and 16 cents in late charges.

That's 430 dollars and 16 cents more than William Vassily had to pay, since the public library in Portland, Maine caps the fines for late children's books at ten dollars per item.

But the 69-year-old suburban Syracuse man says he paid the extra money in the hope that publicity from his act will motivate people to use libraries, which he calls "a door to the rest of the world."

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