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Return Borrowed Books Week – March 2-8, 2025

Return Borrowed Books Week is observed yearly in the first week of March, a holiday to encourage people in overdue possession of library books to return them. This year, it will take place from March 2 to 8. Local libraries are a terrific source of history and knowledge to their communities. Everyone gets access to the flow of information, but the flow is interrupted when some persons hoard borrowed books. It is a challenge faced by both public and private libraries. Return Borrowed Books Week aims to solve this problem by urging the public to do something good for their local libraries by returning valuable books. So spread the word and get the message across to everyone you know. It is Return Borrowed Books Week.

History of Return Borrowed Books Week

The oldest lending library in the United States is the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. It was founded in 1747 by a group of people guided by Abraham Redwood. During the Revolutionary War, the British used it as an officers club, and subsequently, many of its volumes were misplaced. But an effort was made, leading to over 90% of its missing book being recovered.

In 1848, the first extensive public library in the United States was established. It was called The Boston Public Library but was not opened to the public until 1854. And since then, many more public libraries have been built.

Return the Borrowed Books Week was founded in 1953 by the late Al Kaelin, a well-known art director, and cartoonist in America. He started the holiday to prompt the public to return borrowed library books so that they may be available for others to enjoy. The event is present in the annual “Chase’s Calendar of Events” publication, a reference source for all the important dates and holidays.

Libraries all across the country, both private and public, advertise Return the Borrowed Books Week to urge its members to return borrowed volumes to their shelves to enable them to preserve history and let others experience those same books. Books are sometimes forgotten, but this serves as a reminder that the book was beneficial to you and could be equally beneficial to someone else.

Return Borrowed Books Week timeline

Redwood Library is Established

Abraham Redwood and a group of people establish the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.

The First Extensive Public Library

The Boston Public Library emerges as the first extensive public library in America.

The Library Opens

The Boston Public Library opens to the public.

The Week is Established

Al Kaelin establishes Return the Borrowed Books Week.

Return Borrowed Books Week FAQs

What happens if I return a book late to the library?

When library books are returned late, a late charge is automatically applied to your account.

How long can you keep a book from the public library?

You can keep most books for three weeks.

Can I return books after the library closes?

Yes. Even if the library that loaned you the book is closed, books and other library items can be returned to a drop-box outside the library building or near the library entrance.

Return Borrowed Books Week Activities

  1. Share on social media

    One can never underestimate the power of social media. You can do a lot of good by sharing this holiday on social media using the hashtag #ReturnBorrowedBooksWeek to help libraries get their books back.

  2. Tell family members about the holiday

    Take time to check if you have a library book that needs to be returned. Talk to friends and family members about the holiday. You could never know who might be harboring a library book.

  3. Visit the library

    Visit the local library in your community, speak to the librarian and ask if you can be of any help to the event. If you have ideas on getting more people to return library books, feel free to share.

5 Fun Facts About Libraries

  1. Some libraries offer free music

    A service called Freegal permits patrons to download songs from a library of over 15 million tracks.

  2. Librarians had special handwriting

    Librarians used to have to learn a specific style of handwriting called “Library hand.”

  3. It’s never too late to return a book

    One of the most overdue library books in the world was returned after 288 years.

  4. The world's largest library

    The Library of Congress is the world’s largest in terms of catalog depth as it contains 168 million items.

  5. The world’s oldest library

    The Library of Ashurbanipal, located in Nineveh in modern-day Iraq, was founded sometime in the 7th century B.C. for the royal contemplation of the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal.

Why We Love Return Borrowed Books Week

  1. It helps preserve history

    By conserving library books, we preserve important parts of history. Both fiction and non-fiction works have a story to them. They are necessary parts of our societies we need to protect.

  2. It means more books for everyone

    Libraries believe in sharing resources fairly and equally. We get to encourage people to return books they may be hoarding, and that way there are more books for everyone.

  3. It keeps local libraries functional

    What happens when borrowed books are not returned? The library is greatly affected and can not continue to properly function. By participating in this holiday, we ensure that it does not happen.

Return Borrowed Books Week dates

2022March 6Sunday
2023March 5Sunday
2024March 3Sunday
2025March 2Sunday
2026March 1Sunday

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