Racking up late fees is enough to give anyone a bit of anxiety. But while most of us have maybe lost $5 or $10 after failing to return an item on time, one woman on TikTok says her recent bill for overdue library books came to a jaw-dropping total.
The story was shared by a woman named Hannah (@historyhan), who appears to be studying medieval history in her grad school program. While working on her dissertation, she’s had to do a lot of research on various subjects — and often with books she can only get from the library.
The problem? She seems to have lost track of just how many books she’d been checking out and accidentally failed to renew them on time so she could keep them a bit longer.
As a result, Hannah recently received a slightly terrifying email from the librarian, who basically dropped a bomb on her about just how much she owes.
“As it stands, your library account has $11,900 owed for 119 Lost books,” the librarian informed her in the email before reminding her that it’s the “patron’s responsibility” to renew checked-out books in a timely manner.
“The librarian who sent this email must have felt so powerful,” Hannah captioned the post.
But as she explains in her TikTok, the books aren’t actually lost — she’s just been “hoarding” them while working on her dissertation.
The TikTok is just one of many to go viral about the pressure-filled realities of university life. In one, another grad student confessed to working five different part-time jobs while earning her master’s degree. In another, a college grad came clean about the “weirdest” parts of being in a sorority, which made it sound like it was way more trouble than it was worth.
After sharing her own confession, Hannah’s video received more than 420,000 views.
Many people empathized with the student’s accidental faux pas.
“Oh I just know your heart skipped a beat when you saw that email,” one person commented.
“Me with late fees too,” another admitted.
But at the same time, many couldn’t understand why Hannah thought it was OK to keep so many books past their due date.
“omg that would give me extreme anxiety but how on earth you managed to borrow these many books and thought all would be hanky dory is beyond me,” said another.
Others remained stumped as to how Hannah was able to check out so many books to begin with.
“My library only lets me check out 5 books at a time…,” one commenter said.
But in a follow-up post, Hannah clarified that her university actually allows each student to check out up to 200 books at a time, and at present, she only has 162 in her possession.
That said, the issue of why she didn’t renew any of them earlier — especially when the librarian’s email claimed she’d been sent numerous overdue notices — still bothered some TikTokers.
“Geeez are you the reason I could never find books in Bartle?” one person wrote.
“Kinda f***** that you’re hoarding that many books when other people probably want to use them as well,” someone else chimed in.
In her own defense, Hannah insisted that the library system allows other students to request books that have already been checked out and that, in those instances, she always returned them promptly so someone else could use them. However, that apparently didn’t happen too often, judging by the number of books she’s managed to keep for the past year.
After getting a fair amount of push-back in the comments section, Hannah quickly updated people on where she stands now — and luckily, it isn’t $12,000 in debt.
According to the TikToker, she immediately replied to the librarian’s email, apologized profusely and asked to renew the books. As a result, she was able to keep all of them for a bit longer at a “reasonable $20” fee instead of having to fork over thousands.
In her most recent update, Hannah also added that being “labeled a book thief” on the internet also motivated her to forge ahead on her dissertation. She spent the last weekend poring through her many books and writing up a storm. Now, Hannah has a finished draft she can be proud of — and a clear conscience since those late fees have been scrubbed.
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