As much as we want all of the books at the library to be given the best care possible, we understand that life happens. Babies rip pages, toddlers color the nice white inside covers, adults drop entire books in bath tubs and dogs? Well…
Life happens. Just because it happens doesn’t mean you will be banned from the library. It doesn’t mean that you will be given the eyes-over-the-rim-of-the-glasses stare from now on when you walk in. We get it. In fact, even staff members have been in the same spot at one point or another and had to replace a book.
If you ever are in this same predicament, let me give you the inside scoop of what to do and how this breaks down.
First things first… TELL US THAT SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THE BOOK. This may seem like common sense, but we frequently encounter patrons who are too ashamed to come and tell us what happened. Don’t be! You aren’t the first person to have this happen and you won’t be the last. If we know about it, you will have some options for the best way to deal with the situation which is much better than letting it go past due. Who knows? You may even be surprised to find out that if the damage is minimal (which is decided by the person who selects books in each section) you may walk away with nothing more than a “thanks for letting us know!”
If you don’t fall on that kind of luck and must replace a book, there are a couple fees you can expect. The first is called a processing fee. No, this isn’t something we made up, I promise. The barcodes, spine labels, and covers all have an expense. It also costs us per book we add to our collection, even if it is a title we have previously owned. Therefore we must collect a small fee to cover these expenses and this is the same for everyone whether a book is lost or damaged and needs replaced.
The second fee is called a replacement fee. This one is based on the cost of the book. This fee gives you a bit more of a choice, however. You can either pay the dollar amount that we paid for the item to replace it and be totally done and on to checking out new things OR you may ask the staff member who purchases the type of book that was damaged if you may purchase the exact same item (the ISBN numbers must match, hardback for hardback, etc) as a replacement. The selector has the right to decline the book based on its condition or if it does not fit the exact copy we have in our system. ALWAYS ask the selector or a staff member BEFORE you purchase a replacement copy to ensure you have all the correct information. Certain titles may be out of print or have other circumstances that would make finding a new or like new replacement copy unlikely and we don’t want to have you make a purchase that we know ahead of time we cannot accept.
All of that said, we try our very best to work with families who find themselves dealing with a damaged library book. If a new or like new copy is brought in we typically accept it as a replacement which then means that you only pay the processing fee.
Oh, I almost forgot! One neat little side note: you get to keep the book that was damaged if you so choose since you technically purchased its replacement.
To see our official policy on damaged and lost books, click here.
No matter what happens to the items you have checked out, remember, we are here to help you however we can and get you back to enjoying everything the library has to offer!