Aug 25, 2010

Getting Library Books In On Time

I've seen a rash of posts on other blogs about the woes of overdue book fees. Personally, this has never been a problem for me - unless I check out DVDs, which I can never seem to get back in the 3 days they are due. In such cases, I've always considered my late fee a mini-donation to the library.

However, there's something to be said for teaching children responsibility with library books, and surely part of this is getting books back on time.

Here are some ideas:

* Designate one day a week as "library day." If you have young children, make this the same day as library story time.

* Limit the number of books each person may check out. A little trial and error will tell you how many books your kids can go through in a week's time. If they have to ask for book renewals, then cut back on how many books they're checking out.

* If possible, let you children have their own library card. At my library, we can just give our phone number and name and the librarian does the rest. My 5 year old is at the age when she needs to know our phone number, anyway, so soon she'll be able to check out her own books.

* As soon as you bring library books home, put them in their special place. For us, this is a basket in the living room, beside the couch where we usually read. In your home, it could be a special shelf. The idea is simply to have a location where the library books always go when they aren't being read. That way, you'll never have to turn the house upside down looking for a lost library book.

* If there's any reason you might miss a regularly scheduled library visit (a vacation, a hectic week, etc.), write the books' due date on the calendar to help you remember to drop them off.

* If you like technical gadgets, try Elf, a service that sends email alerts before your books are due. The service is free for up to 6 notifications.

* Allow even small children to return their own library books, and teach them to tell the librarian if a book needs repair.

* If a book ends up overdue, anyway, the child who checked it out is responsible. That child may either pay the overdue fee from her piggy bank or work off the fee by doing special chores. Next time the child is far more likely to make sure her book gets back to the library on time.


  1. Elf sounds nice, but I'm lucky--my library sends an e-mail reminder when I've got about 2 days left on any resource I've borrowed. And, fortunately, I live about 3 blocks from my main library branch! But, I've still fallen prey to library fines... usually due to my own absent-mindedness, or inability to renew something because of holds. :(

  2. Liberty, what a neat feature your library offers!