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.”