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View Full Version : Library sends police to collect overdue books from five-year-old girl



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FigureSpins
01-09-2012, 03:58 PM
Keeping the books after receiving repeated reminders could just be laziness or lack of funds, or it could be an indicator that something else is going on in the house. The overreaction is odd, considering the cop was sent to fetch the $100 overdue audio book that the father had taken out. Why would that girl even *think* that she was going to be arrested? The mother blew it out of proportion and handled it badly.

If there was an unreported abuse or mental health situation, a cop would be better prepared to observe and report that than a Librarian or volunteer. IMO, the woman just outed herself as a little unstable, lol.

Doing these checks affords the cops in a small town the opportunity to interact with the people they protect. It seems like the Library was within its rights to ask the police to help retrieve the outstanding items or replacement value monies. The cops chose to go door-to-door instead of sending a legal notice. To me, that's a service - hand them the book and you're off the hook! Saves you the trip to the Library.

I think it's okay, as long as there are no more pressing matters. Better than their cooping someplace because they have nothing to do. While some might argue that the department's overstaffed, this just might be a quiet season for the town. I know some beach communities that are very peaceful during the off-season, but in order to retain their officers for the peak season, the department hires them year-round. Why not give them something productive to do that gets them out in the community?

genegri
01-09-2012, 05:04 PM
The mother is an idiot, but I see a problem using the police. It makes it seem that the police have nothing else to do. If that is the case, the public now thinks they know where the city can save money.

I think on the contrary, this is an example of good usage of the police force. Even a small town with few crimes needs full time police officers. When things are peaceful, it's resource-efficient to allow these officers to help out with other civil duties as long as they are still on call and can be summoned in a hurry.

It is on the heavy-handed side but maybe there is no perfect alternative unless you spend extra tax money and hire a social worker separately. We talk about efficient use of tax dollars and making sacrifices. And this is as small a sacrifice or inconvenience as it comes.

FigureSpins
01-09-2012, 06:19 PM
The police department said, in one of the online articles, that they thought a friendly visit would be nicer than a summons. The Library wanted their materials back and they were within their legal rights. (I feel bad for the cop - he was just doing his job.)

I wonder what else this family had outstanding, other than the $100 audiobook? I'll bet there were other books and resources, which the kid knew were overdue. Often, people who are really not doing the right thing protest the loudest.

Our library has awesome online resources. You can even "check out" a tote bag to carry the books. I can reserve and check books in/out on my own, have the receipt sent to my email with the due date, plus, I can renew books online or by phone. However, they can't send a reminder email automatically for some reason. They have automated phone calls that go out after it's overdue, which is too late. (However, if you get a call and renew online, you can avoid the fee.)

So, I put the receipt message on my calendar as an appointment with a reminder a few days before the due date, which works pretty well. My kids would sometimes miss one or two books when they gathered them to be returned. Their printed receipt was always missing, so I couldn't check easily to make sure everything was in the return bag. Now, I go online and call out what books are still missing from the bag and make them find them. I also keep money on their account so they have a balance to pay the fees and remove the block. ($10 in fines - blocked. Pay fines, cash only, at the Library desk.)

WindSpirit
01-09-2012, 07:02 PM
I wonder what else this family had outstanding, other than the $100 audiobook? I'll bet there were other books and resources, which the kid knew were overdue. That sneaky little weasel! I'll bet she stole from many libraries before. She even cried, thinking she's going to be arrested. If that doesn't spell guilty, I don't know what does. :lol:

All kidding aside, you're expecting a 5-year-old child to keep track of what she got from a library and when it is due?


My kids would sometimes miss one or two books when they gathered them to be returned. Their printed receipt was always missing, so I couldn't check easily to make sure everything was in the return bag. Now, I go online and call out what books are still missing from the bag and make them find them. I also keep money on their account so they have a balance to pay the fees and remove the block. ($10 in fines - blocked. Pay fines, cash only, at the Library desk.) I'm assuming your children are younger than 5 since obviously they can't keep track of that by themselves?

It never ceases to amaze me what assumptions people can jump to after getting very little information.

BTW, I mentioned that my library asked me to pay a fee for book I "failed" to return, which didn't happen. Here I just assumed it got misplaced and it was a mistake, etc. while it could've been a more organized extortion? I wonder how many times they've made that "mistake" *wink* with other people. After all, we all know how desperate the libraries are for money. I can be so naive. :drama:

FigureSpins
01-09-2012, 08:19 PM
All kidding aside, you're expecting a 5-year-old child to keep track of what she got from a library and when it is due?
How did you arrive at that conclusion from my post? I do expect a kid to know that Library books have to be returned, but the parents should be making sure the kid is aware of the due dates and getting the books back on time since she can't go by herself yet. And yes, she should know which books were borrowed. We use one shelf for library books, although they don't always keep to that. (Which is why books go astray.)

I keep track of the due dates and book list but my kids always know when their books are due/overdue because I announce it in advance. They've borrowed library books since they were 3, so it's just routine in our house: "your books are due on Tuesday, put them on the table this afternoon, please." Most of the time, they remind me about the stack waiting to go back. Now that they're teens, when they miss a due date, they pay me back for the fine.

I'm thinking that the kid had books out and either assumed or knew (because the parents mentioned it) that they were late. I don't expect her to have it in her dayrunner, as you've implied. Five is certainly not too young to be aware of returning things as promised.


It never ceases to amaze me what assumptions people can jump to after getting very little information.
Not really assuming anything ... you know what Felix Unger says about that. The articles I read before commenting said that there were other overdue items that were also returned.

mpal2
01-10-2012, 05:23 PM
Five is certainly not too young to be aware of returning things as promised.

My mom had a similar routine for us too. She kept track of more things when we were younger and gradually shifted more and more responsibility to us. But I definitely understood at age 5 that these books were special, had to be treated carefully and had to go back to the building we got them from.

euterpe
01-10-2012, 06:41 PM
In NJ, a man was stopped for a minor traffic violation, then was arrested for driving without a license. It seems his driver license was suspended because he had neglected to return library books! He had never received notification of the suspension.

WindSpirit
01-11-2012, 07:45 AM
In NJ, a man was stopped for a minor traffic violation, then was arrested for driving without a license. It seems his driver license was suspended because he had neglected to return library books! He had never received notification of the suspension. Wow. It gets crazier and crazier.


How did you arrive at that conclusion from my post? I'll be happy to explain.


I do expect a kid to know that Library books have to be returned, but the parents should be making sure the kid is aware of the due dates and getting the books back on time since she can't go by herself yet. And yes, she should know which books were borrowed. Not which were borrowed but when they are due. There's a difference. Especially if you imply that the child was aware of the fact that the books were overdue. You wrote:


I wonder what else this family had outstanding, other than the $100 audiobook? I'll bet there were other books and resources, which the kid knew were overdue. Words like "I wonder", "I'll bet" don't imply knowledge but assumption. By assuming there were other books and resources the kid knew were overdue implies a few things: that the family had a history of ignoring their responsibilities and that the child was making more or less of a conscious choice when she was ignoring the fact her books were overdue (which you'd bet she knew) or at least she was showing bad will. That's a lot to put on a 5-year-old child's head and that's why it caught my eye.


Not really assuming anything ... you know what Felix Unger says about that. I know, I also know what you wrote before you decided to edit it out. Too bad, because I was dying to know what I was assuming. Now I'll never know, sigh. :lol:


The articles I read before commenting said that there were other overdue items that were also returned. Then you chose a weird way to show that with phrases like "I wonder" and "I'll bet".

MacMadame
01-15-2012, 11:30 PM
Most libraries I've belonged too had a limit on fines so that you couldn't owe more than the book was worth. They also tend to be very generous about forgiving fines since the main purpose of them is to get the books back so they don't have to be replaced.