Repeat Offenders: Characters with Overdue Library Books

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay.

It’s National Library Week and today we're drawing special attention to the library’s biggest contributors: the chronically overdue. They’re both a hindrance and a help. They’re the reason you’ve been waiting six months for that bestseller to become available, but their late fees paid for new carpeting at your favorite branch. But they have a legitimate reason for not returning that book on time. Or at least that’s what they told us.


Amina from The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

The Seattle Public Library is after Amina Eapen because she forgot to return her library books before moving to New Mexico. “It was all very sudden,” Amina said. “My mother called saying it was urgent – that my father wasn’t doing well.” What Amina didn’t know was that there wasn’t any rush. Her family needed her, but she could have risked a visit to the library before she made the move.

“Dimple hasn’t been any help either,” she sighs, explaining that her cousin had promised to help her tie up loose ends in Seattle. “All she wants to talk about is her new fiancé. I’m telling you, if she talks about that fiancé one more time, I’m going to put her entire family on a plane so they can plan a huge Indian wedding in Seattle. She’d hate that.” When the Seattle Public Library found out that Amina was a photographer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer – yes, that photographer – they agreed to waive the fines.


Elle from Geekerella by Ashley Poston

With villainous stepsisters attempting to thwart – yes, thwart – Elle from attending ExcelsiCon and the accompanying costume contest, it’s no wonder she forgot to return that book on sewing techniques to the library on time. “It was an honest mistake,” Elle said, decked in a gorgeous Starfield-inspired cosplay gown.

“I didn’t know the first thing about sewing, so I needed all the help I could get. But then one thing led to another and –” She cut herself off when she heard her entry number called over the convention’s loudspeaker. “I really have to go. Wish me luck!” When Elle returned from ExcelsiCon, she learned that her fine had been paid off by a mysterious benefactor. Our money’s on the ExcelsiCon founders. They’d never let anyone hurt a Wittimer.


Grace from The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang

Grace’s Santa Barbara boarding school has been tailing the Wangs for weeks. It’s rumored that when Charles Wang pulled Grace out of school, she took more than just her MacBook. “What am I going to do with a bunch of library books,” Grace asked, suspiciously shoving copies of Women in Clothes and The Little Dictionary of Fashion into the back seat. “Those are mine,” she added, though we didn’t ask. “I bought those with my own money.” Her father then helpfully added that she didn’t have her own money; she’s a teenager. And besides, that’s why they’re making this big trip to upstate New York. They’re bankrupt.

“Even if I did steal a couple of library books, that’s no reason for them to be after me. I’m just a kid.” That “just a kid” stuff might have worked on her parents, but we know the real Grace. And she’s a lot smarter than she lets on.