Win Free Books with your Best Overdue Book Excuse







The dog ate my GOOSEBUMPS…THE GOBLET OF FIRE vanished into thin air on the bus …My little sister flushed RAMONA down the toilet.

Hello 2012! We’re kick-starting the new year with a fun contest.  Give us your craziest overdue book excuse or lost book story and we’ll put you in the running for free PIRATES OF PLAGIARISM books.  We’ll also publish the whoppers that are the funniest or strangest.

Contest details below:

*Email Kathleen with your stories or post a comment with your best overdue book excuse(s).

* Contest ends February 5, 2012


And the winner is image courtesy of





  1. Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    The best excuse I ever heard for lost library books was, “I can’t return my books because my house burned down.” Sadly, it was true.

  2. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Here’s one of mine from this very week –

    “My friend put it in the recycle bin and it got recycled!”
    Happy New Year!
    Sarah Winn, Librarian- Churchill Road Elementary School, VA

  3. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Here are some of the book excuses that were send to me via email:

    The strangest lost book story I have happened this fall. One of my students checked out her library books and the following day I received an email from a school in MD (about 45 minutes away from my school in VA) that one of our books had been returned to her school! Intrigued I checked the book’s record to see who had it checked out, the student in question was on vacation in EGYPT with his family and had been gone about 2 weeks! Some more digging around showed us that the book was actually checked out by another student in his class, so it was returned from Egypt, checked out in VA and lost in MD all in one day!
    We think the book was actually here in the classroom, and that the second student checked it out before it was checked in, but we still have no clue how it got to MD! The student says she does not have family in the area it was found, and that she had not left her house the day it was lost. Maybe on the school bus?
    The school librarian in MD and I would love to know how this book traveled so far in a day!
    Luckily for me the other librarian took the time to track down a school she had never heard of, find my email address and offer to return our book! Gotta love our librarians!

    Chrissie Devinney- Librarian
    Lucketts Elementary School
    Leesburg, VA

  4. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    More excuses from Funbrarians across the country:

    One of my teachers found her son’s book under the refrigerator. I guess it was a “cool” book.

    Heidi Lewis, MA, MLIS- Teacher Librarian
    Guinyard-Butler Middle School
    Barnwell, SC

    My first year as a Media Specialist a student repeatedly ‘forgot’ his overdue book My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen. When threatened with recess until he paid or returned the book, he brought in a mangled and chewed up mess. Yup, his dog ate the book about dogs.
    Diane L. Creel-Media Specialist
    Flower Hill ES, Gaithersburg, MD

    My Sharks book went to Mexico. I don’t know when we’ll be going back. Apparently US Mail didn’t work. Eleven went to Texas, same issue with the mail, but 2 years later I did get it back…along with 2 more that her sister had given her to return.
    Marcia Berbeza, Delaware

    We had a third grader who just told us yesterday that, “I tried to my books up high, but my little sister is a monkey.”
    Joan Rubin, PYE Librarian
    Penn Yan Elementary School
    Penn Yan, NY

  5. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    We have been laughing all week- keep them coming!!!
    :) Kathleen

    “I didn’t lose the book. I left it at our family’s timeshare. I can get it and bring it back next year when we go, but my dad doesn’t want to pay for it because it isn’t technically lost.” (5th grader)

    Gina Schaarschmidt, Library Media Specialist
    Edith Wolford Elementary School- Colorado Springs, CO

    My best overdue excuse came when I was a librarian at an elementary school. A student walked in, handed me what my fingers immediately realized was a very damp book and said “I’m sorry my book is late but my little brother threw it in the toilet and I had to wait till it stopped dripping to bring it back because I didn’t want to get my backpack wet.”
    The book went right into the trash and I washed my hands with lots of soap and energy (3 times!) but I didn’t charge the student’s account because it was the best laugh I’d had in years. Kids, you’ve got to love them!
    -M. Goldsberry

    Last year a 6th grader checked out 2 playaways to take on a spring break trip to El Salvador. His overdue/lost excuse (for losing $80 worth of library materials): “I finished listening to the books and didn’t want to carry them all the way back home in my suitcase!”
    Sharon Frank, Librarian
    Timber Lane Elementary School, VA

  6. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Overdue book excuses rock on…

    Oh What fun Kathleen!!!
    The best excuse, and unfortunately my OWN, is as follows:
    “My Labrador ate the cover off Toast with Jelly Side Up.”
    Roberta Dwelley , MLIS/NBCT
    Dunston Primary School- North Charleston, SC

    Hi Kathleen,
    What a fun contest!
    This is a little out of the realm of overdue books, but worth sharing nonetheless. Last year a student brought back a damaged book and said his younger brother had gotten a hold of it and wrecked it. I
    sent home a note with the replacement cost and when the mom sent the money in, she also asked for a receipt. However, the receipt was not because she wanted proof of payment-she wrote a note saying she was going to put it in the younger brother’s baby book. :-)
    Michelle Maniaci
    Luther Elementary, WI

  7. Kristy Goss
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Mine is:

    “My mother came and returned the book when you weren’t here one day and put it right back on the shelf where it belongs. Then another student must have taken it out.”

    I also had a book returned last year that a parent found at a Garage Sale a few towns over. They were selling the brand new hardcover library book for 50 Cents. What a bargain!

    Kristy Goss
    Eagle Elementary
    Delmar, NY

  8. Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Here are some more whopper excuses sent through my email- Enjoy!

    Here’s one of mine from this very week – “My friend put it in the recycle bin and it got recycled!”
    Happy New Year!
    Sarah Winn, Librarian- Churchill Road Elementary School, VA


    The strangest excuse we ever got was from a girl whose book had been
    missing for MONTHS. After several inquiries, she finally told us it was
    in a cow pile in the field behind her house. She eventually found it in
    her basement near the end of the year. It was returned in perfect
    condition. The excuses from her brothers were not nearly as “creative”.
    Peggy Simpson
    MVES library teacher
    Rockingham, VA
    By working together
    we help our students
    become successful lifelong learners!


    My best overdue book excuse went as follows:

    Me: Do you know where your book is?
    Him: Yes, I left it in the bathroom.
    Me: Bathroom?
    Him: Yeah, I like to keep a book in the bathroom for…yanno…

    I have never looked at the poor child the same way. I wash my hands a lot now…

    -Madeline Robinette

  9. Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an oldie, but goodie sent to our email address from Mary, a librarian in Virginia:

    As I was preparing the Library in August of 2004 for the upcoming school year, I received a package from an unknown individual in suburban Maryland. When I opened it, the package contained a book: Galileo and Experimental Science. Attached to it was a routing slip with this message: “I just found this book. It belonged to you (years ago!) and was checked out by my ex-husband (years ago!). I thought you deserved to get it back!” The due date stamped in the back of the book read: “Nov. 16 ’66.”

    Can anyone top that?

    Librarian, Kenmore Middle, VA

  10. Lyndsey
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    The best excuse has been “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have never checked out that book!”

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