Memorial Middle School

"Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve"

Lost & Damaged Books

hat About Lost or Damaged Books?


"Mistakes are lessons of wisdom." -- Hugh White


Students are responsible for the care of the books which they check out from our library. When books are returned damaged, the student is responsible for paying to replace the damaged book. When books are lost, the student is responsible for paying to replace the lost book. We encourage our students to care for and return all library books by their due date. Students are allowed two weeks after the date of check out to return their books. However, books can be renewed for an additional period of time if needed.


Here is a photo of an actual damaged book from a school library.  What do you think happened to it?  The correct answer is provided at the bottom of this web page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answer.


damage 1


No one wakes up in the morning with the goal of losing or damaging a library book. Accidents happen. At the MMS Library, we assume that all of our students do their best to take good care of the materials they borrow from the library. So here's what to do if your family runs into any of these problems:

Oh no, we a lost a library book. Now what?

If the book has been lost for less than four weeks, we ask you to keep looking for it. Your child will receive a verbal friendly reminder in homeroom and/or Lit. Conn/Language Arts to remind him/her to keep looking for the missing item.  Once an item is four weeks overdue, electronic overdue notices will begin appearing in the email account that you provided for the school district.

After four weeks have passed since the book was due, the book is officially considered lost. At that point, your family must choose to either return the missing item or pay the replacement cost.  It is our hope that no one ever has to pay for a lost book because our ultimate goal is always just to get our original book back!

The best case scenario is the return of the actual missing library book. If that is not going to happen, please provide the library with either the cash (correct change only, please) or a check (made out to Memorial Middle School Library) to cover the replacement cost. If an exact copy of the missing item cannot be obtained by the librarian, a similar title will be substituted.

Once payment of the replacement cost is made, your money is deposited into the bank and it cannot be refunded. If the missing item is located after payment, it becomes the property of your family.  

Please be aware that library books are becoming more and more expensive. The average cost of a hardback children's book is now $25.00, when the district's reprocessing fee is included. Many parents experience "sticker shock" when they are presented with a bill for lost library books.

It is also important to know that the library cannot accept used or new copies of missing items in place of paying the replacement cost. Many of our books are purchase with special library bindings to make them more durable for heavy use. For this reason, school district policy only permits library staff to accept cash or check payments for the replacement of lost items.

Please contact Mrs. Murray (MMS's Library Paraprofessional) if you need further assistance with this problem.  Mrs. Murray handles all of the circulation issues for our library.  Her email is

Oh no, we accidentally damaged a library book. Now what?

During library classes, your children learn to protect their books from the four most common ways library books end up damaged:

  • pets - especially dogs
  • babies and toddlers -- who are too young to know how to take care of books properly
  • food -- keep library books away from the kitchen table, please!
  • liquids -- cups spill, juice boxes explode, rain and puddles develop, all of these are dangerous for library books

Students are instructed to keep their library books in safe places to avoid these problems. Yet despite their best intentions, occasionally a library book is accidentally damaged.

If this happens to a book checked out to your child, please reassure your child that he or she will not "get in trouble" in the library. Explain that he/she will have to tell Mrs. Murray about what happened and that your family may have to pay to replace the damaged item(s).  Mrs. Murray stresses that with all students but many students feel very guilty and upset if their library books accidentally become damaged, despite her many reassurances. 

Send the damaged item back to school with a note explaining what happened. Mrs. Murray will then take a look at the damage and see if she can repair the problem. If not, your family will need to pay the replacement cost. Each damaged book will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Once again, if you must pay replacement costs you may pay by cash (correct change only, please) or by check (made out to: Memorial Middle School Library). Money paid for damaged items cannot be refunded.

If you have any further questions, please contact Mrs. Murray at

Oh no, we mistakenly returned a MMS book to the wrong library. Now what?

If your family uses several different libraries, this may happen very easily. Once you have discovered this problem, please contact the library where you believe you may have returned the item from MMS. The barcodes used by the school district's libraries cannot be read by the barcode scanners at Maurice M. Pine Public Library (or any BCCLS library) -- so the public library's staff catches these mix-ups. They will eventually mail the school district's book back to the proper school. 

Also, please send a note into school to explain to Mrs. Murray what has happened, alerting her to the situation as well. If the book is not eventually returned to the MMS Library, your family may still be responsible for paying the replacement cost of the missing item.

Sometimes students mistakenly return Public Library items to the MMS Library. We catch this problem almost immediately at school since Public Library barcodes cannot be read by our school's library system, so we tend to notice these books right away and get them back to the correct borrower.

Answer to the question at the top of this page: this Library book was damaged by a dog chewing on it.


“This information is shared through the courtesy of Becky Collins, Park Forest Elementary School Library Web Site, State College, PA.”