Ramblings & ephemera

The largest library fine … ever.

I was an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis from 1985-1989, and a graduate student in English Lit. from 1989-1996. During that time, I racked up my share of library fines (not hard to do when the fines were $0.10 a day, per book), a couple of times into three digits. In fact, I always said that Olin Library was one day going to name an extension room after me: the Granneman Procrastination room.

Recently I started teaching at Wash. U. Desiring a library book, I walked into Olin Library for the first time in seven years and tried to get the volume. The student behind the desk told me that there was a problem with my account, but he was puzzled as to what it actually was. He told me that he would talk to his supervisor, who would send me an email once everything was straightened out.

A couple of days later, I received this email:

From: Lisa W—
To: scott@granneman.com
Subject: Olin library Privileges
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 09:40:40

Sir,

Your record has been updated to show current status as a faculty member of UCollege. As to the fines, I looked them up in our archive and there seems to be some disagreement between our archives and your library record. We are showing fines of $714. I’ve showed this to my supervisor, letting her know that you have material you want to put on reserve for a class, and she decided to simply ignore the $714 fine and reduce the $81.60 fine to $20. If this is a bit confusing, we do have the archive printout available for you to look at. The fines seem to date from around 1989 to 1995. The $20 can be paid at the circulation desk. From that point your record will be completely current. If you do have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you.

Wow. This has to be a record!

Needless to say, I paid the $20. Gratefully.

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