Couple Facing 3-Months in Jail for Overdue Library Books — Welcome to the Police State

Claire Bernish | The Free Thought Project

Tecumseh, MI — Like a dystopic nightmare, a couple from Michigan faces not only large fines, but jail time over failing to return two library books — one of which is a classic by Dr. Seuss — despite their attempts to resolve the matter.

Catherine Duren allowed her son to use her library card to check out the “Hatful of Seuss” collection for his daughter in 2014.

Catherine’s husband, Melvin, also faces charges after keeping the thriller, “The Rome Prophecy,” for eight months — though he returned it in January after receiving a letter about the missing book.





Now, the couple faces up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for late library books.

Catherine was originally alerted to the late books when fees showed up on her credit report in 2014, as library notices about the slip-up were being sent to her son’s email address. She didn’t realize she would be required to pay for the lost item because, Catherine says, she had been told by the library that late fees and notices would come in the mail.

“They told me they would send charges with late fees through the mail,” Catherine explained to ABC News. “We had no intent of not paying the fees.”

Their awful predicament shows a number of crossed messages and miscommunications — and even threats from police. Though the couple found Melvin’s book in December, each thought the other person had returned it — but they eventually realized the mistake and turned in the copy.


They’ve already shelled out hundreds in fines, and had to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on April 14, where each of them were charged with larceny of rental equipment. The reason why will likely infuriate you. According to ABC, after they returned the book Melvin had checked out:

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