Sunday, 3 June 2012

The (Unintentional) Book Thief

It’s a long-running joke in our house that we’re destined to be penniless due to my inability to return library books on time.

Personally, I like to think of the overdue fines as small (but regular) contributions towards keeping libraries afloat, but for some reason this justification is no longer washing with Mr Bean. I think he’s seen the librarians' faces light up when I walk in, anticipating another generous donation.

So when I came across this article I had to bring it to his attention. Some poor soul is even more forgetful than me and after 80 years (yes, years!) the book has finally been returned to its home in Navan Library, Ireland.

As any self-respecting overdue borrower would, the book was dropped off quickly and quietly before anyone noticed. As records don’t exist from that long ago, no one has any idea who the original borrower was, or indeed the returner.

Although the cloak and dagger behaviour could also have been to avoid the not inconsiderable fine which the librarian has calculated to be over 4000 Euros – and this is based on the charge it would have been back then: a penny a week.

‘And you thought a fiver was excessive?’ I can’t help but comment to Mr Bean, who just raises his eyebrows and looks pointedly at the pile of library books in the entrance hall, waiting to be taken back. 

They’ve been there for over a week now. The librarians will be pleased.  


  1. I always used to but don't any more now that DH works in the library! Never mind the crap salary, we save hundreds in fines!

    1. Very useful! I'm trying to increase my friendship group to include helpful professions like lawyers, car mechanics, hotel owners etc. Clearly I need to befriend someone who works in a library too so they can help me get to that renewal stamp!

  2. I don't borrow books from the library anymore in fear that I forget to return them on time! I have a £10 fine sitting on my little one's card.

    I now borrow, buy and swap books with friends to avoid the cringe worthy situations. However, our library has the electronic system now so I can drop off the books and quietly sneak out unnoticed! I've donated so many books to them that you would think I'd get a credit or they would turn a blind eye?!?

    1. Brilliant! That's setting her up for life. Your little one is going to have a record and be barred from all libraries before she's old enough to do anything about it.