Maran Ha-Rav Kook would Return Books to their Places

Maran Rav Kook said: "If you want to be like me, act like me." This means that if someone wants to internalize the Torah which someone teaches, he should first imitate his positive character traits. Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, pointed out that one of Maran Ha-Rav Kook’s positive character traits was that he never burdened another person to return the books which he used. He would not leave them on the table or elsewhere, but would return the books to the place from which he took them. Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, actually made a ruling in Yeshivat Mercaz Ha-Rav, a condition for using the Yeshiva’s books: If someone uses a book in the Yeshiva and did not return it, he is no longer allowed to use the books of the Yeshiva.
Maran Ha-Rav was so strict regarding this matter for four reasons:
1. One who does not return books burden others.
2. If someone does not return a book, perhaps someone else who is looking for it and cannot locate it will wander around searching for it and waste his time which should have been dedicated to learning Torah.
3. The Egyptians forced the Jewish People to perform "Avodat Parech" – cruel, busy work which had no purpose. There is a prohibition of forcing others to perform this type of frustrating work, which essentially makes them into a slave. It is permissible to have an employee perform "Avodat Parech," since if the employee does not like it he can quit and find other work. Forcing others to put your books away, however, is a violation of the prohibition of "Avodat Parech."
4. Leaving the books around is also disgracing holy books. It is written in the Chasidic books that one of the signs of a person’s Fear of Heaven is how he relates to holy books.
Based on these reasons, a person should be vigilant to return books to the location in which they were found.
There are two times in which one could return a book: Immediately after its use or at the end of a Seder (learning session). If the book is a single copy or there are only a few copies, it should be returned immediately after use since perhaps someone is looking for it. If there are multiple copies, however, the book may be returned at the end of the Seder. If one finds books laying around, which others did not return, he is not obligated to return them, but it is an act of kindness to do so.
By having the opportunity to return books, one should be happy that he can perfect a character trait, honor holy books, consider others and perform acts of kindness for another people.