Return to sender! Wandsworth readers fail to return £370,000 worth of library books

A Wandsworth parent who borrowed a £2 Ladybird book in 2005 has helped rack up a £370,000 book replacement bill for taxpayers.

This borrower was due to return Busy Little Postman by Karen King on July 18 2005 – but unlike the little postman in the story they failed to deliver it back.

It’s the longest overdue of a list of more than 45,000 books borrowed from the borough’s libraries and never returned.

Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “At a time when the public finances are under such extreme pressure and councils in particular are facing real challenges in managing their budgets, having to find money to replace unreturned books is a major headache.

“This is a drain on the public purse that could easily be avoided if only people brought their library books back.

“I would like to appeal to borrowers who have overdue books at home to please return them.

“This simple act of community spirit will save public money and ensure other people, especially children, won’t have to miss out on the pleasure of reading these missing books.”

Nearly £500,000 a year is spent on purchasing new books for the borough’s network of 11 libraries.

This has helped Wandsworth achieve one of the highest loan ratios in the capital, with customer surveys revealing the borough’s libraries have some of the highest satisfaction ratings in London.

While Wandsworth enjoys 11 libraries Hammersmith & Fulham have just five and Merton has eight.

For more information about libraries near you visit

Picture courtesy of Gregory Bodnar, with thanks

Related Articles