What do I do? What do I do? This library book is 42 years overdue. I admit that it's mine but I can't pay the fine-- Should I turn it in or hide it again? What do I do? What do I do?
Basic rule of the library: get your books back on time or pay a fine. It's a trivial amount, just 5 cents per day overdue, but what if you forgot to return it for a really, really long time? Years later when you discover said book, a feeling of dread wells up within you. You want to return the book, you really do, but the pennies-a-day have added up, and that late fee is now a four or five figure amount. Doing the right thing is really going to cost you, and don't expect any sympathy from the Scary Librarian
Rest assured, there is of course, little real-life basis to this trope; libraries cap their fees well below the cost of replacing the book, as they would rather not be inconvenienced with having to do so. Still, for the sake of comedy most shows overlook this.
Needs a Better Title
- In the Rick Moranis film Big Bully, Moranis' character returns to his old hometown only to discover that the elementary school librarian still remembers him and expects to be compensated for a book (Green Eggs and Ham) he checked out in first grade and never returned.
- Lister's first concern after emerging from a 3 million year cryostasis.
- An unfortunate library patron from an episode of Between the Lions has to pony up. Although considering the library is run by lions, this trope is far from the worst thing that could have happened to him.