Confessions of a Library Book Slacker

I love libraries. And librarians. I can distinctly remember the first time I got my own library card; you know, the one I signed my name on in cursive


But, except for glorious book sales, I haven’t been to the library in close to four years. Going in just tempts me to to check books out, and if I check books out…I don’t take them back. Yes, I am a notorious library book slacker. I rack up late fees to the point that just going and buying a book is always the best decision, both for me and everyone on the library waiting list. 

I don’t slack purposefully. I had every intention of returning The Lost City of Z when I finished reading and put it on the passenger seat of my car as a gentle reminder. But poor little Z could never convince me that detouring downtown to the library was a better idea than getting home and out of those uncomfortable work clothes as soon as possible. 

In the best interest of the community, I’m willing to accept my faults and hope that one day I’ll be responsible enough to return things on time. Until then, I’ll keep stalking Book Sale Finder and spending too many weekends piling paper bags full of library books that I don’t have to return

Am I alone in my slackerdom?

  • You’d think Todoist would take care of this little problem you have… ;) teehee

    • You would think! Ugh. I know the books are due…I just can’t get myself to choose that extra weave through the city over the joys of going home.

  • Tanya Patrice

    I rack up the late fines too. But my library always forgives me because I get the … “most active user” treatment :-) I don’t go in as much anymore since I got an eReader because now I get audiobooks and eBooks from the library website. They return themselves – and there’s tricks to delaying their return dates.

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

    • Hmmm. I like the idea of being a power user ;) But Overdrive and being able to check out e/audiobooks has totally saved the day for me, too.

  • In this particular case we are very different- maybe because I’ve been a librarian for most of my career? I just go through the drive-through and leave them- don’t even have to park the car.
    Here’s a little hint (if you ever decide to save money and use the library): almost every library has an amnesty week where if you bring in a certain amount of canned goods they waive ALL your fines. So you can feel good about helping and save money.

    • I always feel bad that I’m sucking up the book for someone else, too! It’s so weird, because I hate being late to committed events or turning in things late…maybe I just hate letting go of a book :)

  • I currently have approximately 30 books on the hold-shelves, waiting for me at various local libraries. So I’m probably not the best person to ask, seeing as I clearly have my own library issues.

    (To be fair, the blitz is because I haven’t been to the US in over a year and a half and need to spend my vacation doing nothing but reading. But this probably still disqualifies me from properly commenting on the matter.)

  • Four years??? I tend to rack up the fines as well, but I’m a dedicated Overdrive user through my library. The book just vanishes from your ereader when it’s due. That’s the reason I originally bought my ereader. I figured i would actually end up saving money with no over due fines. Now i go to the library often. It’s 2 blocks from our house and when you have kids it’s a good place to go on a weekly basis.

    • Overdrive has totally saved me! I definitely use it…but it doesn’t solve my physical book problem :/ I’m really hoping when/if I have kids, the problem will solve itself because I’ll definitely want to be taking a child.

  • Hee, I love this! I always find myself renewing books as many times as I’m allowed to avoid trips to the library. I love the library, but I hate trying to park downtown!

  • I know what you mean! Sometimes it’s just such a hassle going to the library to drop off books. I keep renewing until I can’t renew anymore and then I have to go to the library.

    Like many others have said, checking out ebooks from my library has been so much easier (and saves more money, too) since it auto-returns itself.

    • I’ve totally started taking advantage of my library’s Overdrive system for e/audiobooks, it’s the only way I know I won’t fall prey to the pang of procrastination!

  • Ti Reed

    I hardly ever check out REAL books but I check out the library audio and ebooks ALL the time and I have a little secret… with Wi-Fi turned off, they stay on my Kindle forever. Muahahahaha!

  • Kelly Massry

    Yeah, I’m not much of a library user either. There’s just too much guilt inherent in it. Guilt to read the book before it’s due back, guilt to return it on time – library books always become these things weighting on my head.

    Plus (and this might be terribly snobby to admit) I don’t like the old, musty smell of books, or the feel of a book that has already been read. I like my books new – which is why I don’t visit used bookstores or libraries much.

    • I don’t so much mind the used book part (obviously, since I have such a compulsion when it comes to buying used books), but I do think part of my problem is that I hate to feel like I have to read a book RIGHT AWAY.

  • OMG, I’m so bad about this, too. Maybe we should start a support group??? I never check out books because suddenly there’s pressure to read them. Oh the horror!

    • Exactly, I really feel like that’s where much of the problem comes from (other than the fact that I have a really hard time just getting them BACK to the library!)

  • It’s been a really long time since I’ve been to a physical library. I’m also not great at returning books, although I’d usually kick my butt into gear just in time to avoid the late fees. My solution has been borrowing ebooks from the library. I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home or worry about late fees because the title just expires!

  • Stacy

    I am terrible about getting book back on time. A couple of things have happened at our local library that will save me. 1) City of Midland installed a new gorgeous branch library not far from my home with lovely book drop depositories! 2) Much to my doubting Thomas nature of the inherent goodness of the public, our libraries have decided to do away with overdue fines! Now what incentive am I going to have to get them back on time? I may keep Goldfinch or And the Mountains Echoed for 2 months! I will get them back; and guilt will make me take them back sooner as I believe everyone needs access to read great literature but….;)

  • Jennine G.

    It end to buy my books more often…haven’t been to the library for myself often at all. But, I freak out if I have overdue books! I feel so guilt, like the library is going to mark my file and hold it against me. Really they’re probably glad cause it brings them some money! Lol

    • I know, I feel so bad! That’s why I just stopped going, because I know I just won’t be able to get things back in time.

  • The Book Wheel

    Ha! I’m the same way. Every time I go to the library I end up driving around with the books in my car for at least a week past their due date. I feel like I should be, as a book lover, ashamed of my hoarding tendencies but then I think it’s best they stay with someone who loves them.

  • Words for Worms

    Hahahahaha! No shame, I get my library books on my kindle now so I can’t forget to return them, they just expire!

  • Kim Ukura

    Funny! I’ve always lived closet to my library so returning books is easy. I’m also to much of a goody goody to rack up late fees :)

    • It’s SO not in my goody goody genes to get late fees either, so I think that’s why I stopped going! I know that I can’t do it right, so I had to just cut myself off :(

  • Hahaha! Yes! I have to set an alarm on my cell phone or I’ve never remember to take them back. And it is so easy to rationalize keeping them another day because the fine is less than the gas to get there. That is the bast thing about borrowing ebooks…..they get returned automatically!

    • So true about the rationalization! I almost wish they would make the fees higher, I might get them back sooner :)

  • NancyS

    I don’t know what I would do without my local library! I’m a quick reader….and always have too many books on reserve (in fact there are 4 to pick up tomorrow morning). We can renew online so I really don’t run into fines, but also tend to use the drop box out back if I’m really running late.

    • You know, I think now that I read so much more than I did back then I might be able to sustain a good cycle of picking up a ton of books and returning them on time.

  • I’ve done this so many times since I usually drive out to the library in the suburbs. I have had so many late fees. Now I stick with Overdrive so I don’t have to worry about making the trip.

    • Exactly what has happened with me, too. I’ll get too anxious to wait for something to be transferred to the closest library and just go run to pick it up and never want to get back out to the suburbs to take it back :(

  • I was a library slacker for a while when I first got my adult library card and could check out way more books. My solution as an adult is to have a set day where the library is one of my errands. Every other Sunday I go to the library. Then books get returned if I’ve finished them, or I renew them if I haven’t finished them, and I (almost) never have to worry about fines.

    • Okay, THIS is genius. I might even feel brave enough to try again if I do this. *slowly pulls library card out of wallet*

  • Wow, awesome discussion! I’ve always lived pretty close to the library so it’s not too tough to return stuff, although I admit I went on a bit of a break from the library for a couple years there. After I joined a book group at the library I started using it more again, and when I was without internet during the interim of a move. I also love using Overdrive for audiobooks!

  • I actually frequent libraries. . . but in different ways. For instance, I don’t usually go to browse. I will put the books I want on hold and then once the books show up at the library, I just go to pick them up (and then totally end up browsing their “new books” section and picking up way too many). I do love my digital library, though. . . I can get both audio and e-books that way delivered right to my Kindle!

    Thank you for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party! Even though it’s my last week of hosting, April @ The Steadfast Reader will be taking over, which is super exciting! More info to come. . . :D

    • Wesley

      I do the same thing, I have everything on hold and then just run in and get them. Im not much of a book browser!

  • This is where having some sort of assistant would come in handy ;) Hey, you! Return these books!

  • Tif

    My kids and I go to the library on a weekly basis. Love it!! However, it is not uncommon for me to find that myself or the kids have fines on their cards. We have a tendency to hoard the books and we have a hard time giving them back in a timely manner!

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