So it’s your fault!

We go to the library regularly, so we generally have a huge stack of books checked out.  It would be hard to keep track of due dates, except the library sends out a reminder email a day or two before things are due. I didn’t ask them to do that, but they do and it’s helpful and therefore I never, ever keep those little slips of paper that give the due dates.

That’s what the computer is for.

But today it hit me: I hadn’t gotten one of those handy emails for awhile. It felt like a long time, in fact.  While straightening the living room, I found a DVD that I had checked out.  Hmm, those only check out for a week. Seems like I’ve had this longer than a week.

So I logged in to my account online and WHAT?!? It listed 11 overdue items, in bright red font to make sure I felt the full extent of my irresponsibility and shame.  Also, an item I had placed on hold was available for pick up.  Never got an email about that, either.

I quickly gathered all of our library materials and headed out the door for an impromptu library trip.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest until I took care of the 11 – ELEVEN – overdue and fine-accruing items.

The librarian told me – as I fully expected – that the reminder emails were just a courtesy and that the library is under no obligation to remind me of due dates.  I explained to her, nicely, that I understood that, but also suggested that when the emails are sent on a regular basis, one does tend to rely on them.  As we were talking, another woman came by and began telling the other employee how she did not receive a due date reminder and had just realized that materials were overdue. Aha! It wasn’t just me!

The other deliquent patron and I were informed that there had been a recent significant software update, and the lack of reminder emails was a result of a few kinks that were being worked out.  I smiled, patient, understanding.  Sure, things happen.

And then she told me that I still owed the $5.10.


Apparently, patrons have to pay fines whether the system is working properly or not.

Now, I really try hard not to claim “it’s not fair” as an excuse. I do understand that it’s my job to keep track of due dates. But doesn’t it seem like there should be some sort of grace given to those of us affected by the problems with their upgrade?  Discounted fines? Some acknowledgment that the library’s less-than-perfect upgrade actually affected patrons?

What say you? Team Library or Team Melanie?

About waymel

Navy wife. Homeschooling mom. Adoptive parent. Pianist. Introvert. One who loves quiet and beauty.
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9 Responses to So it’s your fault!

  1. loveandkate says:

    Team Melanie for sure! That’s just shady. It feels like trickery!

  2. shirley wilmoth says:

    I find it different these days than used to be. Many years ago, it seems, the library would have excused the fees or at least humbly apologized and taken responsibility. In recent years I have seen little or no responsibility taken and generally not even a kind word but just a “this amount is due immediately” attitude. I guess one just has to pay it and forget it and figure the value of all the books and dvds read and watched is more than the fine for sure. – Melanie’s team.

  3. Robyn says:

    Team Melanie! They should wipe out the fees since the glitch was their fault. If you lived in Atlanta we would do a story on this and shame them into giving you your $5.10 back.

  4. Jen says:

    If I were you, I would take my eleven items back and say that I might as well just keep them until “All Is Forgiven Day,” if such a day even exists anymore, in this age of library strictness.
    But an important point: libraries (and librarians) have made a name for themselves as very rigid and unforgiving. When I was probably in my late teens, I went with my mom to use a library computer, and an employee walked by purposefully informing us that only my mom was allowed to touch the computer since she was the cardholder.
    To this day, I don’t have a library card because they told me that even though mine was stolen, I would have to pay to replace it.
    And in the kids’ dept at the Howland branch, there is actually a sign that says please do not take library toys.
    I think maybe the growing lack of government support has made our libraries somewhat miserly. Not that I’m saying they should let people take their toys, but if they fail to treat their patrons reasonably and respectfully, they’re going to lose their private support, too.
    *Steps down from soapbox.*

  5. Becca says:

    This is why I, in all seriousness, do NOT check out books from the library. Between attitudes and fines, it’s just easier to find my own used copy of a book and buy it for a quarter or fifty cents. 🙂

    • waymel says:

      Ooo, and attitudes in Pensacola were BAD. Those were some unprofessional librarians. (There were a couple of nice ladies in children’s. But the circulation people were awful.)

  6. waymel says:

    This is why I choose NETFLIX.


  7. Rebecca says:

    Hmmm. . . . I’m kind of surprised with everyone’s answers! There are some strict and rule-loving librarians out there, but I think that most truly care about helping people and try to be as flexible as possible. I know I routinely go out of my way to help people in any way that I can. I also think people tend to confuse librarians and circulation staff, who are mostly NOT librarians. Librarians are also aware of people’s conceptions of them as mean and miserly and most are working to change that perception. When I was in school we were even instructed on how to make rules positive: not “No eating in the library” but “Please help us keep our library clean,” etc. I’m really sad that Becca would rather buy a book than deal with the library! That is just discouraging. I promise – all librarians are not mean!

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