Monday, September 8, 2008

I LOVE the library -- but not the fines!

I would love for our family to be big-time library users. But..... I'm having a lot of trouble with overdue books and paying fines. And the fines add up fast! (Enough that I could buy a few books with what I have paid this year so far, and it's only September!)

Our library system has a great online catalog, and I have had helpful librarians renew my books so that I don't have to pay the fines, which has saved me more than once. I can go online to renew also, and just did that, which has erased a fine that was on that book ($1.60 savings -- very worth it). But... a book I returned a week ago had earned an $0.70 fine that I will have to pay, because I didn't think to renew before returning via the book drop.

I love to go with the boys (or by myself) and check out 6-8 (or more) children's books at a time. What happens to me is that we read them and they get scattered into our own books. I think I'm doing better, as I will grab some to return and only keep the ones we really are enjoying a little longer, to the max of the borrow period (and then some!) I think frequent return stops is working for me, but evidently not well enough as I have an $0.70 to pay.

What are your strategies for managing borrowed materials? I need help!


Amanda said...

Oh boy do I remember this problem! Now I actually work at the library, so I get out of the late fines hehe... but when it was an issue this was my plan:
A table/bench/shelf next to the door is the "library book spot." Books go there immediately when you are done reading them, that way you won't forget to take them with you when you are out running errands. Keep the checkout slip hanging on the fridge and highlight the ones that have already been returned, that way you know what you still have out and need to renew.

Maybe that will work for you!

Sheila said...

We have this problem occasionally. One trick that helps a bit is to have a designated library basket in my oldest's room that contains only library books. My son (5) loves to read so much that he carries books with him everywhere! It is hard getting them back in the basket. We go to 2 libraries - one with fines and one without. Guess which one we borrow more from? :)

I also check our library accounts online regularly to keep an eye on what will be due soon and what I need to renew.

Rebecca said...

Oh that is hard. I don't know how much this will help with that, but we have kept one of the large, shallow rubbermaid totes, uncovered, in the entry next to the door. Library books are kept in it, or returned there after reading them, then I just grab it and stuff it in the back of the car when heading for the library.

Of course, now my kids are old enough to be responsible for returning their own library books, but they've been responsible for their own fines for a long time.

Thank goodness for online renewals! We have checked out movies also and the late fees for those are in the dollars rather than cents.

Karen said...

Thank you for all the suggestions! I'm also thinking of putting the book return date on my calendar, or maybe use an automated reminder on the computer -- even if I can't make it to the library that day, I could take the time to go online and renew. I can't believe how 3 weeks goes by so fast!

I took my youngest to the library this week and we brought home another stack, I just can't resist checking out materials to explore with the boys.

We haven't checked out a lot of other media yet, although if I get good at managing our due dates, I would like to use the library for more videos and audio recordings.