Wall of Shame

Every year around this time, I must call in all library book,s and all fines must be paid. I hate this time of year because I have to track down the kids and remind them numerous times that they owe a debt to the library. I know that many librarians have thrown out fines, but I don't think that the kids will return the books without the fines. I don't charge much, and when students owe a lot of money in fines, I often take off part of the fine if the student shows good faith and pays part of what they owe.

I started something a few years ago that I thought would help me get the students to clear their debts quickly. I make a list of students who owe something to the library without listing the actual fees or books that are due. I title the list, Wall of Shame. I send out an announcement of the list to all the teachers, and I post the list on the library door. Most kids want their name off the Wall of Shame, so they get the books they owe back quickly. A few kids think it is an honor to be on the Wall of Shame. Yes, it is a bit silly, but it seems to work with the kids that I work with. Once the kids clear with me, I send them to the list to cross off their name. I do love watching the list shrink. Usually, by the last day of school there are only one or two names left on the list.

Getting the materials back is just one of those jobs that librarians have to do, not a job that librarians want to do.


  1. I am right there with you. I am trying to get the last 150 or so books back by next Friday from the 100 or so students who have yet to return their books from weeks or even months ago. I hate being the mean ol' librarian but really, it's a good life lesson for students to learn. If you borrow something, you should return it. Otherwise it's like stealing.

    I work at a low income school, so many times I just have students "work" off their fine during their recess time in the Media Center, but there are only 7 days of school left, so time's running out.

    Good luck on getting your book friends back. Know you're not alone in fighting the good fight. =)


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