Our night at the Library.

Last night Kev and I got a babysitter and went to the library. We brought back our overdue books and spent our precious time alone perusing the books on CD for our upcoming trip. 45 minutes later we settled on 4 that looked interesting to both of us and went to check out.

We knew there would be a pretty hefty fine. We had 20 items overdue, but each is only 5 cents a day. So...$1/day for 36 days = $36 dollars. A high price to pay for being slow about getting the books back, but I stifled my guilt by thinking that the library could buy a few great new books as a result of our tardiness. In our own, annoying way, we're contributing to our community.

"Okay, so your late fees come to $145.00." said the young girl behind the desk. I was a few feet away, looking through the new arrivals. Did I just hear that right?

"wow. That's WAY higher than I was thinking" Kevin said. "How much?" I asked as I joined Kevin at the counter.

"um. $145. You had 20 books overdue past 30 days. That's five dollars per book added on to your late fee up to that point. We cap it at 30 days, so that your fees don't get any higher, otherwise it would be a lot more."

"It's 5 cents per book per day, right?" I asked.

"Yes, but once we give the final notice, it's just 5 dollars per book, after you pay those first 30 days worth of late fees." Uuummmm. And this is LESS than it would be, somehow?

"We had no idea about that charge after 30 days, and that is a lot higher than it would be if you had just continued to add on the 5 cents per book per day, even well beyond 30 days. We just turned the books in to you. Is there anything you can do?" Kevin asked, nicely.

"Well, it used to be $15 dollars per book and so really this is better, because if late fees just kept accumulating, it would be a lot higher. It's just our policy. So..." she responded.

Realizing that this nice girl didn't really understand the information she was trying to give us, and certainly wasn't processing our arguments, (either that or she was playing dumb to avoid further discussion) I asked if there was anyone else who had the authority to work something out. There was, but she was gone for the day.

So we had to abandon our books on CD. A good, child-less hour, with nothing to show for it.

Kevin is making the call today. I keep thinking maybe I should have gone in to talk with her personally, four cute little boys in tow. "they just had such a hard time giving up those dinosaur books...I'm so sorry."

I AM sorry that we were so late, and we really will be better. But I cannot find this policy anywhere on their website under late fees, in any of our automated late notice emails, or even in the final notice letter we got. It certainly wasn't something that we have ever been informed of. We love our library, and we have been difficult patrons lately, but $145(!!!) seems like a little much.

I'll let you know what comes of it...because I'm sure you're just dying to know, right?=)

*UPDATE*: I spoke with Kristi, the library director on the phone (kev was really busy today). She was very nice, and kindly dropped the fee to $45.20. I hate confrontations...my hands are still shaking a bit, even though she was nothing but understanding. I just get so nervous! whew! I'm glad that's over. We'll go back tonight to pay this reasonable fine and check out those books on CD. Yahoo.

Maybe I should add some sort of count down ticker to my sidebar:
my library books are due in 23 days!

...not as exciting as a baby or birthday count down, but probably more practical.


  1. Ha! This made me laugh because I can relate so well! With children's books, it's easy to leave the library with 20 books . . .and it is just as easy to forget their due date until all of a sudden week(s) have passed. I have to budget in my monthly library overdue fees, because invariably it seems I'm always paying something . . .though, luckily never $145!! That is outrageous. Hopefully they'll do something for you!

  2. I love how the girl acted like it made sense to just add on $5...Clearly that makes a lot of sense. And yes, I'd like to know the outcome of that one! Yikes!

  3. You would have to have kept the books out for 4 months past due before the extra $5 charge saved you any money. That is ridiculous! The youth of today...I really don't think she even understood your $.05/day argument at all. Good luck and yes, let us know how it turns out!!

  4. Yes, I am dying to know, and I'm dying that it's so much money!

  5. Hi. You don't know me, but I'm leaving a comment because otherwise I feel like a creepy blog stalker. Also, because even though I don't know you I like you. I like that you have embarrassing moments and worry about semi-awkward things you do, like I do, and admit them. It makes me feel slightly less embarrassed about all the silly things I do (and think). I totally relate to above story about library fines. It's nice to know that other nice and good people occassionally have late books. This type of story is something that TOTALLY would have happened to my family (that is the family I grew up in and as much as I try to fight it, might happen to my growing family as life gets busier). And I loved your story about the Easter cake pops. Because I too am always wishing I was on the ball and if I ever am it's a happy accident. I love your comment about trying to do too much in too little time because that is the story of my life. For this reason I wish that I could either (a) not care that I am always running late or not accomplishing my big plans or (b) figure out how to stop having such grandiose plans and be more realistic so I wouldn't always be scrambling. Oh well. I am nice and fun. My husband tells me so.

    Okay, and now you know that I have spent at least fifteen-twenty minutes browsing your blog and neglecting my housework that I should have been catching up on while my kids are napping.

    Last thing, well couple of things really: I like your/your mom's blog. She reminds me of a combination of my mother and mother-in-law and the type of mother I want to be. And I LOVE her philosophies on child-rearing. I took a course at BYU about parenting and child guidance with an AMAZING professor that taught many of the same principles on child rearing that your mom professes, ie. focus on teaching rather than discipline. This philosophy rings so true for me. It seems the most Christlike way to parent and live. And last, but not least, I think you have a funny and readable writing style. You should keep writing.

    Also, just so you know. I really don't sit around blog-stalking that often. I just heard of your mom's blog a couple weeks ago and happened across your blog through it and related to you because of the aforementioned points and because I too am the eldest child in my family and feel like I need a lot of motherly advice, both from my own mom and other people's too!

    Now I feel really creepy for leaving this long note, but I thought you should know your blogs are appreciated. Also, please pass along the compliments to your mother. I've written enough long notes to strangers for one day. :o)--Not dorky was the verdict, right?

  6. Totally NOT dorky Sarah! I loved it! It really was so nice of you to take the time to write such a great comment. I'm totally grinning like a dork as I type this. We can be dorks together.

  7. Wow, I had no idea that the library had such a policy. It's good to know. I haven't yet turned in any books late but once I set a library book on top of my car as I helped E into his carseat and then I forgot about it and drove away. (Sometimes I'm very scattered-brained.) It cost $30 to replace--oy.

  8. Um, hey Natalie...can I be a dork, too? Because I was smiling, too, when you said "We can be dorks together!"

    By the way, did the library lady say why the other chick charged you guys so much? What was the reasoning?

  9. Oh my gosh!!! That is insanely expensive! Way unreasonable. Keep us updated on what happens!

  10. We just turned in our very late books at the drop box and now I am definitly never going back! There is a nicer library just a little farther away anyway.

  11. Whew, that was nuts. But you handled it so well. I never thought of saying like Kevin did, "Is there anything you can do?"

    I was very late once with a stack of books too. This was 13 years ago and the late fee was around $50. I think. My husband had recently died and the books were all about grieving. I even told the librarian, "My husband died and I'm sorry I'm late returning these." She didn't even flinch, just told me I owed the money. I wish I had thought to ask Kevin's question!

    I remember walking out of the library in tears. Not because I had to pay that big fine, but life was just so overwhelming for me back then, and it was like the librarian wasn't even a real person, more like a dutiful robot.

    I'm with you Natalie, I don't like confrontation either, and I will do just about anything to avoid it.

  12. Oh, Jill. Why are people so heartless sometimes! Can you imagine responding to someone in that way? No. Never. It hurts my heart to even read about that experience.

  13. Brynn, we've been dorks together for a while now=) You are totally part of the club.

    I guess the fine was real and that IS indeed their policy, but it seems like even the library director didn't agree with it. She explained it, but as soon as I asked if there was anything she could do, she calculated for a minute then timidly asked if $45.20 sounded more reasonable. Of course it did=)

  14. Oh I am so glad $45.20 sounds a lot more reasonable!!

  15. HOLY COW! I am so glad you got that worked out.

  16. Your boys are super adorable!! I have four myself. 3 girls and one boy in the mix! Life is great!

  17. Wow...I keep a running tab of about $25 @ our library. I'll probably die owing them fines. But, your fine...that was quite the fine!!! It should definitely be posted somewhere about their policy - Their ridiculously out of hand policy!!!!!...glad the library director was reasonable. Jeepers!

  18. Wow, and my husband gets annoyed that I keep shelling out $5 here and $7 there! I hope they reduce that for you.

  19. Natalie, I just had to give you this link because I had to laugh about this post of yours when I saw this online! http://www.ksl.com/?nid=690&sid=10455427 (it's about being able to "read off" library fines!


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