WWYD – lost library book

You and the kids go regularly to the library; you expect the kids to keep track of the books they borrow; you have a special place set aside for keeping the library books so you can return them all without having to look like crazy.

You return the books to the library, take out some more, and you go home. In a week or so you get an email notification that one of the books is overdue. The son who borrowed it swears up and down and sideways that he returned it. He remembers, he says, putting it on the pile. The kid is trustworthy and you believe him.

You talk to the librarian, tell her that it isn’t lost, that you know it was returned. It’s happened before. They told me once that I hadn’t returned a book and later they called to say they had indeed misplaced it and found it on their shelves. If the book is lost you have to pay for it, if the loss is contested it has a different designation. The librarian gave a long lecture that you listened to, and yet you still gently insist the book was returned. She huffily agrees to mark it as “misplaced in library” and off you go.

Your son is cleaning his room for Pesach and oh no what have we here?  The “lost” library book is found between dresser and wall. He tells you straight away and wonders what will happen now.

Do you:

a) Return the book to the library in person and apologize profusely to the librarian, perhaps dragging your son with you so he can apologize;

b) Just drop it in the drop box in front of the library and think about it no more and give your son a stern lecture; OR

c) Sneak it into the library and leave it on the shelves so that they can “find” it.

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  1. AshleyRoz says:

    I’d like to say, “A” would be more satisfying but I’d probably end up doing “B” so as not to humiliate myself or my son.

  2. HaSafran says:

    As a librarian, and one who has given the “lecture” before, I can assure you that simply returning the book to the library will be sufficient.
    An apology is nice, but certainly not necessary – believe me, it happens every day to us, we don’t expect apologies (and truthfully, even if you did apologize, unless you’re a serial book mis-placer, we won’t remember we gave you the lecture in the first place).

  3. Tracie says:

    If you do “C”, at least put it back in the right place! =)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. swiss says:

    weren’t you the one who said that honesty is paramount?

    If this is your philosophy, take option a).
    None of the others would be compatible with it.

  5. swiss says:

    I would not moralize my son while dodging my own responsibilities…

  6. e says:

    make the kid return it and apologize himself.

  7. masmid says:

    Leave the kid alone and just leave the book on a shelf or table in the library.

  8. sheldan says:

    I say A. Since you had talked to the librarian, you need to go in to say something to her. But your son needs to go in with you, since he lost the book in the first place.

  9. Baila says:

    Been there, done that. Enough to have actually done A, B, and C. I’ve also done D–return it to a different librarian. (And there is a certain librarian in the Cedarhurst library who is terrifying and definitely remembers her lectures).

  10. Z! says:

    It was a mistake. It doesn’t happen often. It will happen again no matter the lecture. He found the book. Just return it. Although many experiences can be “learning possibilities”, I am tired.

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