Fallout 4: The secret use of Overdue Books!

Did you know Overdue Books in Fallout 4 actually have a use?! Neither did I... until now!

There is a lot of loot in Fallout 4. A LOT. Most of it is junk that you can simply tear down for the ingredients within, but there are some items that really don't seem to have a use at all. Subway tokens, Vault-Tec Lunchboxes, folders, notes, holotapes; they all end up in the "Misc" category of your inventory, but what do they do?

Many of these items relate to quests and can't be dropped, but random items you come across in the Commonwealth offer no logical explanation regarding their use (apart from selling them). Such is the case with overdue books, until you enter the Boston Public Library. 

Boston Public Library in relation to Diamond City in Fallout 4

Located to the north-east of Diamond City (as shown by the current character location on the image above), this building is hard to miss as you pass by.

That being said, I'll recommend that you head to Goodneighbor and speak to Daisy (who runs the junk shop next to KL-E-0). She'll ask you to clear the library and return the overdue book that she then gives you, starting the Public Knowledge quest.

When you arrive at the library you can enter through the subway station or pick an advanced lock to enter through the side door. Regardless of your choice, there's a battle ahead of you. Super mutants and automated defenses (trip wire traps, protectrons, and turrets) await you inside.

Once the building is clear, make your way to one of two special terminals (one of which will be highlighted for the Public Knowledge quest) called "Book Return Terminals". (Location images provided below.)

Boston Public Library 1st Book Return Terminal Fallout 4

Located near the side door mentioned above, this is the terminal that will be marked, and the terminal you'll want to access anyways.

Boston Public Library 2nd Book Return Terminal Fallout 4

The second terminal is located at the top of the stairs leading out of the subway station. This terminal is more or less for show.

You've probably guessed by now that we'll be returning our overdue books at these special terminals! Both are unlocked, requiring no special skills to use. Access either terminal and you'll receive a menu with two options:

  • [Return Overdue Books]
  • [Spend Tokens]

For every returned overdue book you'll earn 5 Book Return Tokens. These tokens are worth 1 cap each, but their real value is in the terminals themselves. By selecting [Spend Tokens] you are given access to a prize list featuring a number of mundane prizes costing anywhere from 2 to 50 tokens.

Fallout 4 Boston Public Library Book Return Terminal Rewards

(Note: It is possible that a player's Luck skill could affect the prize list, however, evidence to support this claim is lacking.)

I found the prizes in the second terminal to be excessively useless; junkable objects like cameras and pens. However, the first terminal housed a rather rare artifact: a Massachusetts Surgical Journal perk magazine. Each issue of this perk magazine will grant you an additional +2% limb damage on enemies.

This is the only location where this particular issue of the Massachusetts Surgical Journal can be found. Unfortunately, the magazine costs 50 tokens, or 10 overdue book returns. By searching the library I was able to find 6 books - including Daisy's - 7. To unlock the magazine 3 books will need to be found in your travels. 

Fallout 4 Burnt Book

Burnt or otherwise damaged books are not accepted; only pristine overdue books will earn you tokens. These overdue books can be found in raider camps, vaults, dungeons, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Junk traders like Myrna, Daisy, and Trashcan Carla will sometimes sell these books as well (look under "Misc").

There you have it: selling, dropping, or simply ignoring overdue books is now a no-no - you'll need them for that collectible magazine! 

As for my immediate future, I'm off to rack my brain in an attempt to remember where I've seen those damn books...

Published Feb. 7th 2016
View Comments
  • Nate_7849
    If you're having trouble finding enough tokens, several of the raiders at Revere Beach carry them, for some reason.
  • BlackTideTV
    Strange. I've only ever seen the books themselves in Raider and Mutant camps. Perhaps there's another terminal near that location? I found one in a schoolhouse not far from Boston Common. It didn't have any worthwhile prizes though.

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