So Long, Late Fees – Stopping the Library Struggle

Surely you’ve noticed by now that we are some library-loving folks around here.  It doesn’t even matter if we’ve already got a stack of books we’re working through, if we happen to be in the neighborhood we can’t help ourselves from stopping by and borrowing more.  That library addiction comes with with a cost though.  And that cost usually comes in the form of library late fees.  Ugh.

So Long, Library Late Fees - Putting an End to the Library Struggle

I’m happy that my kids get excited by the mere sight of a library, but I’m not so happy with how borrowing books and returning them when they’re due has become such a struggle.  I’m sick of those library late fees!  Can you relate?

The Library Struggle

When we moved to North Carolina a few years ago we left behind an incredible county library cooperative that met all of our library needs and then some.  That library cooperative was amazing!  With one library card, we had access to forty libraries!  If I needed a book that my closest branches didn’t have, no worries.  I could request that it be sent to the location of my choice and it would be there waiting for me a couple of days later.  Be still my heart, right?

Now we deal with a completely different library setup and it’s taken me three years of living here to get my library act together.  You see, I’m no longer in “the big city” and I don’t have the library access I’ve taken for granted all my life.  We’ve got libraries here, but they’re few and far between.

In addition to being a bookloving family in general, as a homeschooling family, we rely heavily on library access and have had to make some big adjustments here.  Now, instead of our one library card that granted us access to forty libraries that all worked together, we have four different library cards.  Between these cards, we have access to fifteen libraries and four different circulations. (One independent library, three county library systems — our county and two surrounding counties)

So Long, Library Late Fees - Putting an End to the Library Struggle with This Free Library Log Printable

So, serious business, when I’m looking for a book for homeschooling purposes, I have to search four different library databases.  (If you’re a lucky duck sitting in a county with forty libraries, I beg you to take it for granted no longer!)  And, more often than not, I end up getting a few books from the closest library (it’s the independent library), a few more from our county library system, and then a few more from a library system in a surrounding county.

Can you even imagine what it’s like to regularly borrow books from four different library systems?  And they don’t even have the same borrowing procedures or guidelines!  One library lets you borrow materials for two weeks at a time with no record of what you’ve borrowed upon checkout.  Another library system allows three weeks of checkout time and graciously sends an email a few days before your borrowed materials are due back.  The others give you a printout of what you’ve borrowed, but don’t give reminder emails or calls.

So Long, Library Late Fees - Putting an End to the Library Struggle

It’s no wonder I end up with so many stinking library late fees.  

So long library late fees!

Who has time for it all?  Now that I’ve explained the root of my library struggle, let me tell you what I’m doing about it.  I decided it was time to create a Library Log for myself so that I can better keep up with what I’ve borrowed, where I got it from, and when it’s due back.  Why did it take me so long to think of this?

Aside from my library log printable, here’s what I’m doing to stop the library struggle:

  • Before leaving the library, I enter the due date and library name on my phone calendar.
  • Enter my borrowed materials in my library log once I’m home.  I don’t trust myself to do it later that day or that week!
  • All borrowed books now have a shelf in our school room and live there while they’re not in use.  A book basket would be a great place for this too, but the shelf works well for now.
  • There’s now a one-at-a-time rule per child.  Once they’re finished with a book, they can return that library book to the shelf and use another.
  • Once a book is returned, I enter the date I returned it in the log so that I have a record of the return date.

So, there you have it.  That’s my new system to help me end the library struggle and say goodbye to all those library late fees!

Library Log – Free Printable!

Are you struggling with library late fees as well?  If so, help yourself to my library log printable.  You can download yours by clicking the image below.

Once you’ve downloaded it, be sure to put your printable on the fridge or in another spot where you won’t lose it.  That would be a little ironic, right?

So Long, Library Late Fees - Putting an End to the Library Struggle with This Free Library Log Printable

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What helps you keep up with your library books and due dates?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

13 thoughts on “So Long, Late Fees – Stopping the Library Struggle

  1. Thank you so much for this; it is much appreciated as well as much needed! During the summer months, my family visits many different libraries-what can I say, we love libraries. You can imagine the confusion as well as late fees. I believe that last summer might have been a record summer in overdue fees.

    Again,thank you for the printable.

  2. Can you re-check out your books online? When mine are due and I can’t make it to the library, I can check them out again online and it saves me from having fees. (not that I always do this and still get fines)

    Perhaps checking online once a week could work. Of course, if you have more than three libraries, that would be tedious.

    1. Kelly, I can renew online through some of my local systems, but not all. That’s why I had to come up with a new system… I was driving myself nuts trying to keep up with them all! 😉

  3. This is very timely! I literally just got back from paying a crazy over due charge at our library. I was doing so well- entering the due date into my phone for reminders and renewing on time through their website. Then I somehow missed a few on my son’s card and got sick right when they were due with no more renewals available. Ugh!

  4. We borrow books from two separate library systems — but we try to limit to just the better of the two systems because it is so much harder to keep track of both sets of books. One particular problem we had was returning books to the wrong library. Arg. They were really not impressed with us!

  5. We borrow from two different county systems. Luckily, we live right on the county line so neither branch is very far. We borrow primarily from one county because they-get this-don’t have late fees! After your three weeks are up, if no one else has requested it, they automatically renew it for you-up to three times! It’s perfect for homeschoolers. The other system I use for books I can’t find from the first and for printing. They offer 75 black and white or 25 color prints from the computer each week. Between my, my husband’s, and my daughter’s cards we can do all of the copying from online without paying for paper, ink, or wear and tear on our own printers. I feel super blessed.

  6. We keep our books in heir own basket and since our library has an on-line record of all our accounts I make sure to log on each Monday and see what is due that week.

    1. Sounds like a good plan! 🙂

      I wish all of the libraries we use had online access. That would make it so much easier to track all of these borrowed books!

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