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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Ode to the Overdue Offenders

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George | 1 Comment


We’ve all be guilty of it. You have the best of intentions. Maybe you even marked it down on your calendar. But inevitably, at one point or another, the date passes and you’re left with a horrible realization—your library book is overdue! Oh the humanity!

Overdue books can be a problem for any library. In 1969, there were 6,000 books that hadn’t been returned to the Law Library. Circulation began posting the names of students with overdue books in 1972 in the hopes of getting the books back. That probably didn’t do much good, because the following year, the Law Library starting using a fine system instead. Other libraries, such as the New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library, have begun using Amnesty Days, which forgive the fines on materials that are returned.

Typically patrons are able to return the overdue book in a timely fashion and face the fine. But there are certain stories where that is just not the case. Earlier this week, someone returned an overdue book to the New York Public Library. It had been out since…1955. Clearly the Fire of Francis Xavier, a biography of a 16th century priest, must have been some read. There are no details on who had checked the book out (records don’t go past 1958) or why it was returned now; but whoever returned the book included a hundred dollar check to cover fines. (Personally, I think Mr. Bookman had something to do with it because he knows how to close a case.)

It’s hard to judge any overdue offenders too harshly though. They’re probably just following Washington’s example. Our first POTUS could not tell a lie, but he also couldn’t return his library books on time.

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One Response

  1. Mark says:

    That’s a funny story.
    Must’ve been some good samaritan to also include 100 bucks.