On Virtuous Acts: Paying Library Late Fees

Absolutely. I try hard to get my books back as I know the pain and torture that can come with waiting for a book that I am desperate to get my hands on but it doesn’t always happen. I don’t feel bad about paying the fees. Not sure $0.05 per day is a strong deterrent to returning books late. But a higher fee would be unfair to those who can’t afford to pay the higher fee, hence why they are utilizing a public library. It’s an interesting conundrum to be sure.

Samir Chopra

A week or so ago, an old friend of my wife’s said to me, in the midst of a conversation about how much she enjoyed using her public library’s resources, that her busy schedule–work and taking care of two sub-five-year old toddlers–sometimes made her return her borrowings late, bringing a host of late fees in its wake. But, she went on, she didn’t mind: paying those monies to the public library almost felt virtuous. I nodded, and chimed in, “Yeah, I never mind paying late fees to a public library either.”

Talk about making a necessity into a virtue. I’m forgetful and disorganized and distracted (and perhaps absent-minded too.) I often return books late–to the libraries at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. (And before that, to the libraries at every academic institution I have attended.) Till recently, Brooklyn College would not levy late fees on faculty members…

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