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Reducing Library Fees

Currently we have 209 library books in our house.  This is unusual, and a result of our reading week, but we often have over 100. 

Can you imagine what would happen if we returned them late? At fines from 25 to 50 cents, the bill could be astronomical.

That’s why, a few years ago, we designated Tuesday as book return day.  On that day, we renew or return all books due within the next week.  Although we’ll go to the library more often, and return books more often, Tuesday is the day that keeps it all under control.

When we return books, we mark them off on our computer slip and I keep the slip.  We count the books crossed off and compare that number with the number of books in our library bags; occasionally they don’t agree and I have to check all 60 or whatever again.  Needless to say, I do not welcome assistants who could confuse the piles of books. 

The final trick is to calculate how many books we should have on our card after our returns have been processed and to verify that number after the librarian has checked the books in.  We’ve found many computer errors this way and saved ourselves untold hassles and huge amounts of money by being right there to help the librarian find the ‘missing’ book in the piles she’s just sent through the computer. 

For simplicity, our family only uses one library card, most of the time.  I check my husband’s card for returns and renewals on Tuesdays as well, although he often just uses mine like the kids do.

This post has been entered in Being Frugal’s Tightwad Tuesday and in Canada Girl’s Tightwad Tuesday.


  1. proverbsmama says:

    Our library now charges a 50 cent fee for the rental of any dvds. It is hard to "stomach" that fee when we see so many people losing their jobs. Yet, the top man at the library got a huge raise, and it comes from our taxes. It really has a lot of people upset here.

    DD and I went to get a few dvds a couple of weeks ago. When I handed them the $, I said, "Here's my contribution to Mr J's exhorbitant raise." The clerk was in complete agreement with me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree one card simplifies things. I have been not using our local library for about two months. Yes, we miss it but, I can't keep racking up fines and can't seem to stay on top of which books are do when. *sigh* Yes, I need to be more organized….Tuesday..good plan. We love books. 🙂



  3. franbles99 says:

    Happily here in the UK we do not have to pay any charges on overdue books taken out on children's cards. However I am only allowed 20 books/items per card and we pay £2 to rent a dvd for a week (about $4 Can). We don't borrow dvds very often! I loved the library in Canada because there were so many educational dvds for free! If there were educational ones available here I might borrow them even at £2 a time! I go every Friday with renews etc, rather like you and have a big 'library' box for books at home.

    God bless!


  4. JoyfulHeart4Him says:

    Wowza! That is alot of library books.

    You are a busy gal, aren't you? LOL

    I just went to one of those library sales and hit the jackpot. I was praising God for His goodness. I really did get alot of good books that day.

    But, you have the right idea. Borrow and Return-no space needed longterm.

    Love your ideas to help cut down the fees. Great advice.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Bless you,

    Shannon in Va.


  5. AnnieKate says:

    Wow! I'm glad we don't have to pay for DVD's! We do get them occasionally, but the kids are usually too busy to watch them, especially during NaNoWriMo month.

    Annie Kate

  6. LarabaK says:

    I have 2 library cards at the main library we go to, one a "teacher" card and one a normal card. With the teacher card, I can keep books 6 weeks instead of the normal 3. However, we have a 50 book/DVD/CD limit per card so often I need to use both cards. DVD;s are free and the library is attached to 7 more so I can order any book/DVD online and they will send it to the library close to us. So convenient!

    Our library dropped the fines a year ago or so. All kids books have no charges at all, and DVD's and books are only 10 cents a day. Furthermore, I get an email warning if anything is late and I can renew online unless I've already had the book for too long or someone else has requested it.

    I am WAY less organized though I do have 2 boxes in our family room where we put the books when we aren't using them. The second box is for another library that I go to occasionally.

    By God's grace, I have never lost a book permanently. That is of God! I have prayed and He has led me to the right place where a book was hiding.

    We have a lot of books but I use the library all the time too. I try to only buy books that we really adore or need long term for school.

  7. IllinoisLoriH says:

    We use the library so seldom nowadays, that when we do I tend to forget we have books out…so we tend to get late fees! But it's just a nickel a day, and I do get email reminders…it's just disorganization on my part. So I like the idea of designating a day as library day! I think, too, if I wrote L. BOOKS DUE on my calendar, I'd do better. I do check the calendar each day!!!

    God Bless,

    Lori (aka Plans4You and Serenity in the Suburbs)

  8. Erin says:

    oh blush, I really need to utilise those computer slips

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