How to be a good library patron

I have been working in a public library as a Library Technician for 5 years and I am still shocked at how poorly people take care of the materials they check out.  Today we had a patron return a book he had just checked out because when he started to read it he noticed pencil marks throughout the book. I will now be spending several hours erasing all of the markings in a 200 + page book.  Torn pages, spaghetti sauce, sand, water damage – you name it, we see it.  My favorites are books returned with water damage that are still damp, but the patron claims that it was this way when they checked it out 9 weeks ago. Yeah…right.

I thought it might be good to create a “how to” list to help people be good library patrons.


  1. Don’t lie.  If you spilled something on the book you checked out, bring it in to us. We are more than willing to work with you if you are honest.
  2. If you know that your dog likes to chew on books, don’t leave your library books where your dog can get them.
  3. READ the circulation policy handout we give you.  This will help you avoid fines.  Claiming we never told you that late fines for DVDs are a dollar a day per movie is not an excuse.  We give EVERY new card holder a copy of our circulation policies.
  4. Peanut butter & jelly + little fingers + DVD = a DVD that won’t play. Please supervise your children when they are using library materials.
  5. We understand that you need to study for your GED, SAT, Praxis, nursing exam – but please don’t check out the study guides and never return them.  There are others that need to study too.
  6. Writing in library books is NEVER acceptable.  If you want to write notes in the margins of books, buy your own copy.



Published by

Kathy Harriott

My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work for the local county Facilities Dept. and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen.

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