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Late Library Books and Super Fine

Late Library Books and Super Fine

Gee, those overdue book fines can sure add up.

Just ask Georgette Bordine, a librarian at Camelback High School, in Phoenix, Arizona. Last week, a mysterious package arrived at the school. The parcel contained two Audubon Society nature books and a money order for $1,000, made out to the school library.

(Bob McClay/KTAR)

Apparently the anonymous sender felt remorse (a grand’s worth) for having kept the two books for 51 years. In a brief note, the penitent borrower claimed to have calculated the overdue book fines at two cents per day. Although that penalty would total approximately $745, the sender rounded the apparent fine upwards to cover any possible rate increases – and perhaps punitive damages.

The unnamed book returner wrote that he or she had been a high school senior in 1959, when the books were signed out from the school library. The family had relocated soon afterwards, so the books must have been packed away.

The package was postmarked from Superior, Arizona, with a postal box listed as the return address.

Librarian Burdine has said that the unexpected overdue book fine money will be used to purchase additional books for the school library. She also remarked that the library does not have a practice of collecting fines for overdue books at all, but that the donation would be most welcome.

Here’s a film clip of a news interview with the surprised librarian at Camelback High School, in Phoenix, Arizona:



This story kind of makes me want to sort through all of our bookshelves at home. Although I am not aware of any overdue library book notices, you just never know what one might find in the stacks at home.

Of course, having worked part time in a school library for a short while, I think I might be awfully embarrassed to show up with an errant book. Perhaps the anonymous mail-in strategy has merit, in many ways.

What is the biggest overdue library fine you have ever faced?

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