“The Dog Ate My Library Book!”

And Other Wacky Excuses People Give Librarians For Not Returning Books on Time


“The art of storytelling is alive and well, which is something you soon learn when you work at a public library. I’m not talking about the stories in the books. I’m talking about the excuses some patrons dream up to weasel out of paying library fines.

I asked librarians to share best fine avoidance lines patrons have handed them over the years. Here’s a sampling:

The books were lost in a landslide. It was an act of nature so I shouldn’t have to pay.

The TSA confiscated my DVDs.

I threw them all away because another librarian told me that was okay.

I’ve been way too busy to renew my books.

I panicked when a bee flew in my car, so I grabbed the book and threw it at the bee and it went out the window. On the freeway. So I couldn’t stop.

I had no idea that I had to return them!

I loaned them to my therapist and she didn’t give them back. This is really giving me trust issues.

My boyfriend broke up with me and stole all my library books.

These are Christian books! You can’t fine people for reading Christian books!

My poodle ate it. Then he upchucked on a priceless Oriental rug. I should be charging you.

It was a book about witchcraft and it was burned, but I shouldn’t be charged for it because Satan set it on fire.

I lost it in a tornado.

My exterminator took them.

My twin stole my driver’s license, got a library card in my name, checked out a bunch of stuff, then skipped town.

I couldn’t return the books on time because I was undergoing surgery. What kind of surgery? Breast augmentation! Does that matter?

The book was water damaged when I got caught in a downpour. That’s an Act of God, right? So I shouldn’t have to pay.

I checked those books out so that they wouldn’t be a danger to kids and I refuse to pay the fines because I’m doing the community a service by keeping the Devil at bay.

I really hated this book, so I shouldn’t have to pay.

If you hand your librarian a line instead of paying your fine, here’s a suggestion. Why not channel all this creative energy into something more productive? Maybe you can write a best seller! Then you’d easily be able to afford to pay your fines.

Until then, librarians will continue to roll their eyes as you roll out your latest excuse.”