Best Excuses for Not Returning Library Books On Time

Romeo Rosales

Staff Writer

Full time Librarian, father and husband, Romeo Rosales, Jr. holds an MLS from Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX, a B.A. in History from The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, TX, and an A.A. in History from South Texas College in McAllen, TX. Romeo was born and raised in Pharr, TX, a border town that is part of the historic Rio Grande Valley. He is a contributor for Public Libraries Online, the companion website to the bi-monthly print publication "Public Libraries," the official magazine of the Public Library Association. He is also a published author and when he is not writing, he is spending all of his time with his wife Claudia and his son Azariah. Twitter: @Rrsls10

The best part about being a librarian is being able to help community members with their information needs. Patrons frequent their public libraries to check out new books, make prints, fax papers, apply for jobs or simply to visit their favorite librarian (I’m the best librarian hands down! Just kidding). There are so many things public libraries offer these days and sometimes I think it is insane how more people do not take advantage of the fact that they are almost always one hundred percent free!

So, I would be lying if I told you I did not like my job. The truth is, it is the most rewarding career I could imagine. Most patrons are so genuinely thankful for the assistance their librarians provide that they know they can always turn to them for help with the most difficult questions. However, when it comes to turning in books late and racking up fines, some patrons do not mess around. They hate racking up fines and hate it even more when they have to pay those fines.


I have heard some of the craziest excuses about why their books did not get turned in on time. I try not to laugh when I hear them but when I get home after my shift, I can tell you I die of laughter. Here are some of the best excuses I have heard:

“I couldn’t find the keys to my car that day.” So I guess you could not find them every day after that either? I wonder how you got to work or dropped your kids off at school. Hmmmm.

“I didn’t know they were due that day. I never bring back my books late. I’m always on top of things like that.” ::Checks account, sees a long history of returning books late::

“I never checked that book out! I don’t know how it got on my account.” So it seems someone stole your card to check out one book to ensure you accrued fines? But okay, the librarians will do their best to locate that phantom book.

“I didn’t know you charged fines for late books.” We have to make a little money somehow! How else do you think we fill these shelves with books?

“I’m a taxpayer and I shouldn’t have to pay fines.” What would this world come to if you weren’t held accountable for paying your late fees? Yes, you can speak to a commissioner or the mayor if you would like.

But my all-time favorite has to be: “It was just too hot that day to return my books.” Listen, I know it’s Texas and 110 degrees but “too hot outside” is not an excuse I can mark on your account. You have to give me something better than that.


Sometimes, the excuses are the best part of my day. I love the patrons but they can come up with some crazy things. What’s the craziest excuse you have given?