One Card I Don’t Mind Her Swiping

I decided it was high time recently for Miss C to have her own library card.

I try to take the girls to our local library a couple of times a month and Miss A and Miss C always make a beeline to the children’s area after they check out the DVD section. There is usually a lot of shushing on my part until I start to get on my own nerves with the shushing. I swore I’d never be a mother who shushed her kids.

There I stood all smug and proud in line, about to introduce my daughter to the wonders of the public library system. We were standing next to Miss C’s soccer coach, I might add, who I couldn’t help but overhear was paying off a twelve dollar fine. I mean, could you imagine? Twelve dollars in fines? Who could be so irresponsible? What kind of rogue library patron would do such an irresponsible thing? What sort of irresponsible citizen would rack up fines at the library?

The library clerk checked our account and, cue suspenseful music, lo and behold she told me I had late fees on my account. I blew this off, chuckling and thinking that surely it was just a dollar or two. And then I asked her how much I owed.

“Twenty dollars.” (And some change.)

So much for my squeaky clean library record.

Apparently I had checked out several DVDs that we forgot to return for a couple of days last year. They racked up a $2 a day fine per DVD. Then there were late fees for books, ranging from a board book, “Jesus Stops a Storm,” to chick lit, Jennifer Weiner’s “Good in Bed.” We are nothing, but intellectually diverse, at this house. Rumor has it there were also late fees for a couple of really bad DVDs, including Barney and a Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD that we never watched. I’m thinking this must have been the week I had my wisdom teeth extracted and I was on pain pills, otherwise I’m fearful of my deteriorating judgment in movies.

Miss C was able to leave with a library card on a purple lanyard, with the promise that I would pay off our fees with canned goods. Our local library was running a food drive and allowing library flunkees such as myself to redeem themselves by donating cans of tuna and boxes of mac and cheese to wipe the slate clean. I brought in a couple of bags of food the next day to pay off our fines, but I’ll never be able to run for public office should my embarrassing public library record make headline news.


  1. Bluegrass Mama says:

    Oops! It’s the movies and audiobooks that are killers here, too, at $1/day. Books are only 5 cents a day, so the only time they’re a hassle is when my children lose one. Our daughter’s lost two in the past year, which put a real crimp in her allowance for awhile!

    Bluegrass Mama’s last blog post..Super Bowl Crisis

  2. Sonia says:

    Come on over to my library!
    Last summer we checked out a stack of book before I headed to the inlaws lake house for a couple weeks with the kiddos. Guess what got left behind? The library books. Guess when the next time we were going to the lake house (7 hour trip, NOT nearby). Thanksgiving, 5 months away. Oops. I called and told them I’d be down to pay fines or even reimburse to buy new copies of what we had.
    “We don’t fine for overdue books anymore, just bring them in when you get them back.”


    I was happy, but still surprised. I thought half the fun of being a librarian would be the disapproving sneer she gives as she tells you your book has $2.75 fine on it.

    Sonia’s last blog post..Another Day, Another Golden Nugget With Zach

  3. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    Oh yes, we’ve done the library fine thing too – with DVDs as the culprit as well. I love that your library lets you pay off fines with canned goods though! 🙂

    Deb – Mom of 3 Girls’s last blog post..Yep, ‘just’ a virus…

  4. Bill says:

    You might want to suggest that your library invest in a system to send automated reminder emails when stuff is just about due. It’s saved me a couple of times at our dinky little libe.

  5. Jenni says:

    I, seriously, just walked in the door from the library. I had a $31 dollar fine! And we didn’t check out DVDs. I rely on the email reminder to return my books, but somehow didn’t get the email this time. I had 30+ books 5 days late! I almost passed out.

    Jenni’s last blog post..Haiku Confession

  6. Kolleen says:

    I thought I was the only irresponsible mom who forgets to return library books. I will share a secret with you all. I owe about $17 in late fines…I have been too embarrassed for the last couple of weeks to go back. I am going to go back tomorrow and pay it off..I will not be judged by the scary library lady LOLOLOL

    Kolleen’s last blog post..Baby Fever

  7. Momo Fali says:

    $20!!! Wow! I’ve owed a few cents here and there, but that’s crazy! That’s why I LOVE our drive up drop-off at the local library. I don’t have to get out of the car to return anything.

    Momo Fali’s last blog post..It Would Be One Heck Of A Bash

  8. Loralee says:

    I am still hiding out in shame from my library fines.


    Loralee’s last blog post..Sideblog: There?s a hole in my Flickr, dear Liza, dear Liza*?

  9. Blonde Mom says:

    Apparently my fines had racked up over about two years but they don’t e-mail you when you have overdue items. Although I need to login to my account online and see if I can check some option for notifications like that.

    At least my overdue ways helped provide some canned goods for the needy. 😉

  10. Jacki says:

    My mom had her library card suspended because her library fines were over $10, and it wasn’t even her fault. She had returned the books weeks before, but they were never checked in properly. Apparently. We had to go all through the library to find all the books and prove that she had returned them.

    Jacki’s last blog post..Riding in Cars with Girls

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