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Traveler Says Overdue Library Book Caused Temporary Detention at Canadian Border

Traveler Says Overdue Library Book Caused Temporary Detention at Canadian Border
Jeff Edwards

A Pennsylvania resident reports that the failure to return late library materials ended up delaying the delinquent reader’s entry into Canada from the U.S.

There are many reasons a traveler from the U.S. might find themselves turned away from Canada at the border. A questionable work history, problems with identity documents, financial difficulties and even prior trips abroad can all raise red flags at immigration checkpoints. According to the State Department, “Anyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses) may not be able to enter Canada without first obtaining an approval for rehabilitation well in advance of any planned travel.”

The Canadian news site Narcity reports that even an overdue library book once caused an unidentified traveler from the U.S. to be temporarily barred from entering the country. Because the tardy library materials were reported to local law enforcement in the border-crosser’s native Pennsylvania, Canadian immigration officials are said to have been forced to consider the less-than-prompt borrowing history before allowing the library scofflaw into Canada.

Unfortunately for the visitor to the Great White North, Pennsylvania and Michigan are among a very small number of U.S. jurisdictions that will occasionally go after delinquent library borrowers criminally. Although the traveler attempting to enter Canada had not ever been prosecuted for failing to return library property (unlike one unlucky couple in Michigan) – even criminal charges that have been dismissed, dropped or are pending can be grounds for being denied entry into Canada.

In the end, the overdue books didn’t prevent the absent-minded reader from enjoying a Canadian vacation. Apparently, while failing to return a library book is, in some circumstances, considered a criminal act in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, irresponsible library use is not a considered a crime in Canada – therefore, the traveler was free to enjoy all Canada has to offer “a Mari usque ad Mare.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (8)


  1. eng3

    July 18, 2018 at 9:45 am

    What does a Canada Border issue have to do with TSA Pre?

  2. controller1

    July 18, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Why is the stock photo of a TSA Pre-check lane? That has nothing to do with entry into Canada.

  3. ioto1902

    July 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    So, a canadian border officer can see the details of the criminal charges of a foreign country.
    Pretty interesting …

  4. nadabrainiac

    July 18, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    It would be ironic if the book was Frommers Canada.

  5. fotographer

    July 19, 2018 at 1:51 am

    but yet here in the US, some people want to let in anyone from any country without doing any background checks.. makes no sense

  6. thefareguru

    July 19, 2018 at 8:08 am

    In 2013, IIRC, a woman from Ontario was turned back from entering the US because she had recently been treated for DEPRESSION. That was part of a medical record from the Province of Ontario. How did the US feds get access to this?

    So, you see, loto1902, it cuts both ways, and in very intrusive ways.

  7. John Aldeborgh

    July 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    The Fare Guru, two wrongs don’t make a right. The point isn’t who shares information with others it who is violating the entry standards of any nation and are the people entering the respective countries playing by the rules. If it okay to enter the US illegally, then we are not a nation of laws. If I break into your home am I a undocumented member of your family, with the same rights as other family members? The logic is exactly the same.

  8. alexmyboy

    July 20, 2018 at 4:39 am

    Michigan? our roads suck, but overdue library books are more important

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