Florida grandmother’s finger severed after freak accident while returning a library book

Anyone who has ever returned a book to a library drop box knows how heavy those metal flaps are. If you don’t pull your hand back at the right moment, your hand might become trapped and you could walk away with a bruise, maybe a little cut.

Not Barbara “Bobbie” Haverly. She suffered a life-altering injury.

The Florida woman is currently recovering after having lost the top of her finger while returning a book to her local library’s drop box.

The freak accident occurred in the afternoon on July 28. Haverly visited the W.T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora, Florida, a library she’s used for the past 30 years, to return a book.

As she dropped her book in the box, the metal flap swung back and trapped her hand. It only took her seconds to realize her left middle finger had been severed by the metal door.

“I was in shock,” she told KTVU. “It hit an artery, so there was blood squirting everywhere.” 


Haverly, who is a registered nurse, knew not only did she have to act quick, but she needed to retrieve the detached part of her finger and place it on ice.

“I couldn’t push the swinging door back in, so I told the staff to get my fingertip out and put it in ice,” she said.

A man who was standing in line waiting to check out a book ran to the bathroom to get paper towels to help ease the bleeding.

“The library staff might have been shocked too. Patrons were trying to check out books and they were helping them,” Haverly recalled. “But I insisted they retrieve the finger and get it into cold ice water.”

GoFundMe / Help Bobbie and Paul Haverly

She rushed to the hospital where she underwent surgery and stayed for three days.

Unfortunately, doctors were unable to reattach the top of her finger because the nerve endings were severely damaged.

“Instead, more of my finger had to be taken off because it was cut off diagonally,” she said. “My surgeon said he had to cut straight across to allow skin to grow back.”

“They thought I must have cut myself with a knife, not returned a book to the library.”

Haverly is at a loss. Prior to the incident she used to be extremely active, but now she’s unable to do many things that once brought her “joy,” including a visit with her grandchildren.

“I wasn’t taking any risks, I was just returning a book at the library,” she said. “And now I’m permanently disfigured.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with medical costs.


Imagine if this happened to a child! The injury could have been so much worse.

I think all library return boxes should be changed so the doors aren’t spring-loaded.