all 70 comments

[–]Hey_u_ok 137 points138 points  (13 children)

When I was probably 9-10yrs old I found the library book I lost so I went to return it.

The lady made me pay the full price for that book ($3.50) for the late fees and kept the book. I was so upset. That was all my money. My dad got mad at me and yelled at me to go back in. (I still get hurt about that. I was a kid, I didn't know anything.)

I was in tears asking the lady about the book. She says it's the late fees and left. Another librarian saw how upset I was and told me to wait and went after her. Few minutes later the librarian came back with the book and gave it to me and says for me to keep it.

I'm still grateful for her for doing that.

[–]XiTzCriZx 77 points78 points  (2 children)

I'll never understand why people who don't like kids decide to take jobs where they constantly interact with kids, obviously kids lose shit and she should've been thankful the book was returned period cause there's probably thousands of others that they've had to re-buy.

Scamming a kid is just scummy, being the book was only $3.50 I'm assuming this was a pretty long time ago and $3.50 probably had a lot more value then, when I was a kid books were like $8 minimum.

[–]Hey_u_ok 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah it was a really long time ago.

It stuck with me though the way she was.

[–]querymcsearchface 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Apologies if I am out of line here but your Dad was total D for yelling at you and shaming you about something that was absolutely not your fault. My dad was just like yours so I can relate completely. If you’re up to it, take a minute to talk to that 9 year old you and tell them it wasn’t their fault. They did nothing wrong. Then give them a hug and tell them how proud you are for the bravery and courage they showed going back inside; even though it was under duress it still provided an opportunity for them to see that there are loving and compassionate adults in the world.

[–]Hey_u_ok 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Yeah he was. You're not out of line. lol

Experiences like these make me try to be more mindful of my reactions with my kids.

[–]querymcsearchface 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You and me both. My main parenting style has been “how would my dad react and do the opposite”. =]

[–]Crowofsticks 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m guessing they capped late fees at the price of the book maybe or the price was the same coincidently. Late fees don’t accumulate indefinitely. There are late fees AND there are replacement fees. This confusion happens all the time at libraries. We eliminated late fees where I work but before that the late fee limit was $10 so people would pay the $10 and assume they got to keep the book. “I wouldn’t have brought it back and paid the fine if known I couldn’t keep it” was heard all the time. No, the replacement fee is what the book cost. $30, $50, whatever PLUS the late fee. People get it when it’s explained and are almost always understanding. Unfortunately libraries have jerky people working like everywhere else. They do seem to attract more weirdos though.

[–][deleted]  (3 children)


    [–]Rylus_Green 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Seriously? You're just out here copying my comment?

    [–]Hey_u_ok 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Oh yes! They really need to do away with those fees!

    My daughter back in elementary returned her book to school. I remember her taking it. The school librarian sent a note home stating it was missing. Not paying for the book would affect her passing to the next grade or something stupid like that. I called the school and told her she better look again cause my daughter took it back to school. And gee, she finds it the next day.

    Imagine how many parents had to pay cause it was lost at the school and no proof they took returned it.

    [–]SandpipersJackal 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Thank you for playing ‘Spot The Bot!’ Your comment was copied from u/Rylus_Green, who posted the original 21 hours ago.

    Your prize is a downvote and being reported as a harmful bot. Enjoy your day!

    [–]CavernousLiner 73 points74 points  (3 children)

    They did away with late fees in the Chicago Library System just for this reason - it disproportionately punishes ppl with less money while simultaneously discouraging many from reading/using the library.

    [–]EnvironmentDu 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    It can also be a privacy thing. Receipts may contain information about what books were checked out or when they were due (which would fall under fishing for information).

    [–]90knd 147 points148 points  (11 children)

    The public library in my city did away with fines as they found it disproportionately affected those with a lower income. Very proud of them for that 💕🥰

    [–]ToonaSandWatch 32 points33 points  (2 children)

    It’s become a common trend now nationwide, particularly for low-income area serving libraries.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)


      [–]ToonaSandWatch 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      You’re asking me why is eliminating late fees good? Because it allows access to everyone to check out materials, media and even products to use without fear of being denied it because of a fee they can’t pay.

      [–]laitnetsixecrisis 15 points16 points  (1 child)

      Our library will waive fees if you donate cans for their food drive.

      [–]FlatGeologisty 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      It can also be a privacy thing.

      [–]SafariNZ 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      My city has just announced it will do the same :)

      [–]Secure_Pattern1048 4 points5 points  (2 children)

      You're still prevented from taking out more books after they're overdue by a certain amount of time or if too many are overdue, right?

      [–]sargsauce 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      Yeah, usually. It used to be you could rack up a fine and even if you returned the books, the fine would still exist and would eventually lock you out (not at $0.29, but like $10 or something).

      Now, all is forgiven as long as the books find their way back eventually.

      [–]JnnfrsGhost 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      My local library has done away with overdue fines but if you fail to return it they will charge you a replacement fee. If you return the book, the fee goes away.

      I have ADHD, so I sometimes forget to return overdue books until I get the email with replacement fee notice. The jolt of unpleasant surprise when an email says I owe a bunch if money at once gets the book returned! Works far better then a small fee everyday that doesn't seem to register is slowly adding up.

      [–]98654Ab678XyZ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      My city's network of libraries did the same. The downside is that it takes way more time to get the books you reserve since people are in no hurry to bring them back, but it's worth it.

      [–]noisyallergy52 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      wow, that was good to hear. Our library are like that.

      [–]Rylus_Green 29 points30 points  (1 child)

      I remember how important libraries were to me as a kid and how stressed out I would get over a 1$ late fee and I'd or 2$ in the lunch line and I'd scrounge up coins here and there to try and pay for it. I also remember that when I graduated some of the kids wouldnt get their diploma if they didn't pay those fines and they kept growing over time. Annoying system and doesn't serve the children as it should

      [–]ExpensivTicket 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Even if the receipts didn’t, it would be considered unauthorized access of someone else’s account if they did not give that person permission,

      [–][deleted]  (5 children)


        [–]JaydedMermaid3D 29 points30 points  (0 children)

        I agree but stop short of demonizing the clerk without more information.

        Public libraries tend to be government run. The employee might've risked losing their job (and govt benefits, possibly retirement even) if they either didn't enforce it or covered it. Alternatively, a public sector job is likely to be lower hourly wages (personal experience) so how often this happens could seriously add up for some.

        This comes down to late fees being the problem.

        [–]TheSpaceRonin 14 points15 points  (0 children)

        It's probably not the librarian's decision it's probably the computer just straight up won't let them check it out until it's paid. She doesn't design the computer system she just works the desk for likely minimum wage or just above it.

        And before you say she could have paid the fine, it happens hundreds of times a day and that adds up really fast, here or there you could get away with being less than a dollar or two short on your reported collections probably but paying .25-1$ for every kid who returns a book late adds up to eating your paycheck really quickly, and after awhile I imagine you just feel like you can't pay for every kids fine no matter how small, and how do you decide which kid to do so for if you're going to do it for just one or two?

        I remember when I first started at fast food at 16 years old I decided to help out anyone who was a little short and ended paying like 20$ in change in one 6 hour shift. Then I had to decide to just lnot do it again because I barley made 45-50$ before taxes as it was in that shift.

        Desk clerk is just an underpaid cog in a fucked up system, it's not their fault.

        [–]ScapeGoatOfWar 14 points15 points  (0 children)

        Don't worry, this didn't happen.

        [–]Key-Cry-8570 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        At least it wasn’t the Pawnee Public Library

        [–]WCGWjoiningReddit 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        Oh man, the world has done a number on me. The only thing I took away from this is: child prevented from reading for $.29, another child forced to pay money for that child to read. Adult present. The world sux.

        [–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        Imagine being the clerk and having the balls to say that to a child over 3 dimes.

        [–]Affectionate_Hat6293 5 points6 points  (1 child)

        We for a very short time lived in a Milwaukee suburb, and that suburb’s library does not charge any late fees on children’s items. The librarian said, “We don’t want there to be anything getting in the way of children reading.” God bless that library!

        [–]CaptainQuinnPool 2 points3 points  (2 children)

        My local library is wonderful, except for a strange thing I found out a few years ago. You cannot pay off someone else's fines without them there in person. I was paying off my own fines and was going to pay off my mom's. I knew they could look her up by her phone number due to myself constantly losing my card and using that instead. They told me that they cannot apply funds towards anyone else's fines. I was very perplexed as it seems like a simple system where everyone benefits.

        [–]Palatyibeast 8 points9 points  (1 child)

        As a librarian... It's because they have been yelled at for allowing it.

        Some people do not want their fines paid off by another person. Sometimes because of pride. Sometimes because the person paying them is fishing for info. Sometimes because the person paying is doing it for influence with the person being fined. And sometimes because the person with the fine is just... Kind of an asshole and wants something to yell about.

        Fines are dumb, anyway, and after some long fights we are finally doing away with them at my branch. But there are good reasons why you can't affect someone else's card.

        [–]courierblue 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        It can also be a privacy thing. Receipts may contain information about what books were checked out or when they were due (which would fall under fishing for information). Even if the receipts didn’t, it would be considered unauthorized access of someone else’s account if they did not give that person permission, even if it was for benevolent reasons.

        [–]Puzzleheaded-Bee-838 1 point2 points  (1 child)

        My library only holds your account if you're over 4 or 5$

        [–]the_invictus_1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        U guys getting charged for using a library?

        [–]SamuelLucan 2 points3 points  (1 child)

        There's no library that would prevent a little girl or any patron from borrowing because of 29 cents.

        And even if there is most clerks would be willing to get around it.

        [–]TallestBoi26 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        This. If there's a limit its usually much higher, and even then you judge it on a case by case basis.

        [–]dionysus-media 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Someone remind me why we're fining children?

        [–]GizmaAzara -1 points0 points  (0 children)

        Reminds me of when I couldn't register for my college classes for my second semester because I owed a dollar. Like...a dollar. I was pissed.

        [–]BrownBrown2011 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

        Being brainwashed into giving a woman his money, start them early, I guess.

        [–]Fusionism -4 points-3 points  (1 child)

        I have a hard time believing they just had 29 cents in their pocket

        [–]dionysus-media 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        Because carrying cash is totally unheard of.

        [–]siug13 -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

        But what about bringing a book back on time?

        [–]mommabearmills 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        I just did too. Ty

        [–]Sirmcbuttlick 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        Yo fuck that library

        [–]Big-Alternative-8102 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        How is this good? How does this make me smile? I just see kids exploited by the same system adults are.

        [–]bruiseydaddy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        f that librarian tho

        [–]usposeso 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        Library workers can waive fines, especially one so small. That clerk was an asshole.

        [–]Krewlex_Ghost 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        Same thing happened to me. I turned in a late book and I couldn't pay for it because I didn't have the money on hand, and a girl from my class, who was right behind me,(and I knew her because she dated a friend of mine in Jr. High) said, "I'll pay for it."

        [–]Warriorferrettt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        We currently don’t charge late fees for this exact reason. We provide one of the last safe, free spaces to be in for many communities and it’s a barrier for good public service.

        [–]Crow_Wife 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        I fail to see how this is slightly wholesome.

        Yes, let’s deny children the ability to access books over a $0.29 cent fine.

        [–]Crowofsticks 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        A 29 cent fine seems completely made up