Madison is a senior in her third year of journalism. She plays lacrosse and work at Carters Mountain during the summer.
Don’t Let a Library Book Keep You From Graduating
November 5, 2018
Even in the digital age, a library is only as good as the books it contains.
So what if the books are never returned? Late books can frustrate the best and worst of people.
FCHS librarian Lisa Lucas, who has been a librarian since 1990, said she has more students than she wants to count who turn books in late. Unlike at Fluvanna Middle School or at the Fluvanna County Public Library, which charges a small fee each day that an item is late, the FCHS library has no official late fees.
However, that does not mean that there are no consequences for not returning a book to the FCHS Media Center. Lucas said that there is a school procedure for not returning books, noting that the library’s computer system also enables them to see who has a book out late, as well as view their book-borrowing habits. She added that every time a report card goes home, students receive a notification listing any overdue books. The real consequences, however, come when you graduate, as you’ll see below.
Librarian Shannon Taylor also says that she tries to contact students who have books that have been late for a while. According to Taylor, 8th graders are the worst about turning books in on time, especially if they have a class project. Sometimes, she says, a whole class turns books in at about the same time.
So how do students feel about late books? Sophomore Damon Everard goes to the library a lot, and since he loves to read only a certain genre of books, he typically browses through that section. “I usually don’t get annoyed when I can’t check out a certain book. I just say ‘dang it’ and move on,” said Everard.
Freshman Hailey Leake says that late books affect her because whenever she wants to get a book and she knows that it’s supposed to be turned into the library and it’s not there, it makes her not want to read. Leake also says that having a specific late fee would help motivate students to turn books in on time.
Some avid readers, like freshman Cameron Mayo, feel that late fees aren’t a problem. An advanced reader who goes to the FCHS library about four times a week, Mayo said she has never put a book on hold and lost it because a student hasn’t turned in the book. “I turn in books more on the late side,” she admitted.
In fact, in the short run, late books may not affect students or staff as much as you might think. True, librarians might get annoyed after students don’t return a book for a year. But since most of the late books are fiction ones, they don’t really affect students who need informational books for school projects.
You might be thinking, “Big deal. What difference does it make if I never return the book?”
Here are the facts. Late books affect the students who borrowed them because they limit their opportunities. If you have an overdue book that has not been returned, the FCHS policy is that you won’t be allowed to attend dances, like the 8th grade dance, Homecoming, or even Prom. Neglect to return books and you can kiss the dance goodbye until you have returned that book.
More importantly, unreturned books, along with unreturned calculators and textbooks–and unpaid cafeteria bills–are kept track of and sent to the FCHS bookkeeper and the Counseling department. “They will follow you,” said Lucas.
That’s right: those unreturned books will have to be returned before you can walk across the stage at graduation. Or, if you’ve lost the book, you’ll have to pay the replacement value of the book. One way or another, said Lucas, “Library records will follow a student from kindergarten until the witching hour of graduation.”