How to Avoid Library FinesAndrea Thorpe
We are dedicated library patrons who visit the library regularly. Our family loves the library’s educational programs, knowledgeable librarians, and wonderful workspaces perfect for homeschooling on the go. However, the library’s biggest attraction is the books! Thousands of them in all genres, shapes, sizes, and colors seem to call to us as we move around our local library. Each time we visit, we answer the call by filling our library basket to the brim and heading to the checkout desk.
Throughout the following three weeks, we enjoy our borrowed materials. My wee one spreads out on our comfy couch and flips through the picture books. My older children take the coding books they’ve checked out and head off to work on new computer projects. Before heading to bed, I spend time reading recipes in the cookbook I borrowed. During the homeschool day, I’ll have the children watch one of the educational DVDs we checked out.
The three weeks between the checkout date and the due date fly by quickly, and sometimes the due dates sneak up on me. As a result, our library materials are sometimes late and we have to pay large fines because we’ve checked out so many items. Are your library materials frequently returned late? If so, here are a few tips to help you get those items returned in a timely manner.
- Keep all of your library materials in a single location in a space you use regularly. Consider keeping your library basket in frequently used areas such as the family room, foyer, or home office. Passing by your basket may serve as a visual reminder about the items’ due dates.
- Choose a weekly library day. If you visit the library on the same day each week, you’ll visit the library at least four times each month. More frequent visits mean you’ll bring your library basket to the library more often and make returns more regularly.
- Return materials as soon as you’re finished using them. The more items you keep and the longer you keep them checked out increases the chance that items may reach overdue status. If fines plague you, drop off materials more frequently. As you run errands, take a route that passes by the library to make a quick drop off.
- Check to see if your library offers courtesy reminders. Many libraries now send emails text messages or make phone calls to remind patrons of approaching due dates. If your library offers such services, sign up for them.
- Set reminders on your electronic devices. This will free you from having to keep track of everything mentally. Enter weekly reminders that will prompt you to return library materials. Those whistles, buzzes, chirps, and alarms can help you avoid fines.
- Ask someone else to track due dates. Perhaps one of your children can keep of due dates. Consider adding this task to his or her list of chores and offer treats or other incentives for each time you leave the library without fines.
If you check out library materials, the potential for library fines always exists. However, with careful planning, fines don’t have to become a dedicated part of the homeschool budget. Take the time to do some planning now, so you can save money later!
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