So, your child lost a book. It happens. It happens a lot. The worst thing for me to imagine is that a child is afraid to return to the library because she lost a book. She probably thinks that she’s the only kid who has done it. She probably thinks we will yell at her or revoke her library privileges. There are some steps that you can take to help whenever your child has lost a book. First of all, you can renew the book. This way you can have another three weeks to keep searching for it without getting charged overdue fines. Renewing a book is easy. You can log into your account through our website and renew it yourself. You can visit the library and have the reference desk renew the book for you. Or, you can call the library and renew your book over the phone. This step will save you some headache and some money. You are allowed to renew each book up to three times, but, if it is not returned to us after that, we will declare it lost.
Perhaps, you are positive that you already returned the book. It’s not fun to admit this, but books have somehow ended up on our shelves that are still checked out to patrons. If you are sure you already returned the book, you have some choices too. You can come to the library and let the reference desk know that you already turned in that book. The person at the reference desk will be able to mark that book “Claimed Returned” on your record. That claim allows us and you more time to find the book without charging you overdue fines. If it is in the library, it should pop up eventually. When someone tries to check it out, the system will let us know that there is a problem with that book. You can go look for it on our shelves as well. If you find it, we will happily check it in for you and make sure you were not charged any unnecessary fines for it.
Let’s say we have reached the point where we know the book is gone for good, and it isn’t coming back. What happens then? Well, your account will be charged a replacement fee for the book. This fee will mean you cannot use that library card until it is taken care of because our system blocks any card that owes more than $10.00 to the library. If you want, you can simply pay the fine. We will use that money to replace the book in our collection.
If you come talk to us, you may have another option available to you. Oftentimes, we allow patrons to simply replace the book themselves. This can be cheaper than paying the amount that we would automatically charge you. Not all books can be replaced this way, though, because some are very old or no longer available. If you lost a book about the South America that was 20 years old, I definitely don’t want the exact same copy of that super old book again. I also don’t want you to have to go through the trouble of finding a super old, out of date book.
The best way to go about this is to go to the library and speak with one of the children’s librarians. We know our collections the best and we have the authority to make certain decisions. For example, I had a child who lost a Junie B. Jones book. The mom came in to speak to me and explained what happened. I gave her the option to replace the book and also gave her the option to replace it with ANY Junie B. Jones book because I knew that we had a lot of copies of the one she lost so we didn’t need that specific one. As it turned out, the girl had a mint condition Junie B. Jones book at home already so it cost that family nothing to replace the book. We both won in that situation because the family didn’t have to pay a lot of money and I got to put a new book on the shelf right away.
I don’t ever want to scare any family away from the library. My goal is to serve the most kids in my community that I possibly can. Please do not be afraid to come talk to our children’s librarians if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation with a book. We want to help your family continue to be a part of our library.