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modern_muslimah
01-05-2012, 07:37 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081591/Library-sends-police-officer-collect-overdue-books-year-old-girl.html

In Massachusetts, it is a misdemeanor not to return library books. Hence, the library was within its rights to send the police to collect the books. Seems a little heavy handed to me, especially considering that the library was dealing with a five-year-old. I get that lost books costs libraries lots of money but I'm not sure this was handled in a good way.

BigB08822
01-05-2012, 07:49 PM
From the article, it sounds like the police were sent out to collect a lot of books from a lot of people. I doubt they knew they were going after a 5 yr old in this case until they got to the house. The library may have not even known, they probably just printed out a list.

Secondly, the child wouldn't have been the target anyway, this is a 5 yr old so their guardian would be the responsible one. That helps assure me that the library nor the police knew they were going to the house and asking to speak to some 5 yr. old kid. If they knew that they would ask to speak to the parents and the parents would be the ones getting scolded for not making sure the books were returned. How could a 5 yr old be expected to remember and even if they did, how would they return the book? Borrow moms car?

The police officer should have known better than to even talk to the little girl. The mom is either making a big deal out of a simple mistake and/or the police officer took his job too literally.

manleywoman
01-05-2012, 07:56 PM
The mom is either making a big deal out of a simple mistake . . .

That's what it sounds like to me except that it wasn't a simple mistake when you hear that they had hundreds of dollars in fines for overdue books. Sounds like mom took advantage of her daughter being the target and went to the press about it.

modern_muslimah
01-05-2012, 08:13 PM
I know that other libraries have put large overdue fines (e.g. $50.00 or more) on people's credit reports. In these particular cases, sending the police may have gotten library materials back into circulation. However, one has to wonder how to tackle this problem on a larger scale without ruffling people's feathers. In a large city, this wouldn't work. Putting fines on a credit report may work but I wonder how effective it is in getting lost materials back and fines paid.

zaphyre14
01-06-2012, 12:59 PM
My local papers have covered the story in depth. The police officer did not talk to the child. He spoke to the mother and the child was standing behind her and overheard the conversation, misunderstood, and thought she was going to be arrested. The mother then called the librarian and cursed her. Failing to get "satisfaction" that way, she called the media. Over-react much?

Charlton is a very small town with limited resources. The books were more than a year overdue. The household had been called and notified by mail; the notices were sent to the library patron - in this case the father. The police were a last resort.

WindSpirit
01-06-2012, 06:29 PM
Charlton is a very small town with limited resources. I'm sure it is less expensive to send actual police officers to multiple homes to arrest (? that would be saving money for the town, too, no?) people for withholding library books than it is to try to solve the problem in some other way. After all, the police don't have anything more important to do.

One word: overkill.

Especially since libraries can be wrong, too. I got a notice about a book that I supposedly had failed to return. Guess what? Didn't happen. They wanted $32 for it, if I remember right (an esoteric book in Russian no one beside me would probably want to read here). My father said, just pay the damn thing and be done with it. I said I wasn't going to pay for something I didn't do. I'm pretty sure they lost the book since it was around the time they switched to drop-in boxes. Before you had to go inside when the library was open and return the books to a person who cleared your account. It is their word against mine (although I do have a witness since I made that person go out of her way when we were coming back from a trip to drive me to the library so I could return the books) which was part of the reason I chose not to fight it. Even if I "won", they would still think I kept the book which I didn't. Not a fan of drop-in return boxes anymore, I must say.

Skittl1321
01-06-2012, 07:02 PM
After all, the police don't have anything more important to do.



In a small town, they might not...

If the police are on the clock, and nothing else is happening, it doesn't waste resources to have them stop by and talk to the mother.

It sounds like multiple previous notices had been ignored. The family wasn't trying to fight it, they were just ignoring it. I don't think it is unusual at all for cities to send police to collect the book or the fee. It is only news because it was after a 5-year old, which it wasn't...it was after her mother.

agalisgv
01-06-2012, 07:07 PM
I don't think it is unusual at all for cities to send police to collect the book or the fee. I'd say it's rather uncommon

IceAlisa
01-06-2012, 07:08 PM
Media hype.

vesperholly
01-06-2012, 08:17 PM
My local papers have covered the story in depth. The police officer did not talk to the child. He spoke to the mother and the child was standing behind her and overheard the conversation, misunderstood, and thought she was going to be arrested. The mother then called the librarian and cursed her. Failing to get "satisfaction" that way, she called the media. Over-react much?

Charlton is a very small town with limited resources. The books were more than a year overdue. The household had been called and notified by mail; the notices were sent to the library patron - in this case the father. The police were a last resort.

:rolleyes: at this stupid mother. First of all, send your child out of the room. Second of all, explain to her that of course she won't be arrested. Lastly, RETURN THE DAMN BOOKS.

Tinami Amori
01-06-2012, 08:20 PM
:rolleyes: at this stupid mother. First of all, send your child out of the room. Second of all, explain to her that of course she won't be arrested. Lastly, RETURN THE DAMN BOOKS.

That! /\

milanessa
01-06-2012, 08:50 PM
:rolleyes: at this stupid mother. First of all, send your child out of the room. Second of all, explain to her that of course she won't be arrested. Lastly, RETURN THE DAMN BOOKS.

Yes.

Kaffeine
01-06-2012, 09:08 PM
Wow..I'm a librarian and just can't imagine doing this.

Our system has a limit of $30. Once a patron goes over that limit, they receive at least two notices stating that they're in danger of being reported to the agency. After the last notice, we send their info to our collection agency.

Even then, their credit report is not immediately dinged, the collection agency will contact them and let them that they have X amount of days to either pay the fines/return the books. Usually it's THAT notice that gets people scurrying in to the libraries to pay:D

Libraries are suffering big time. My system alone has had to lay off half of its people...and we're a large system so it hurts because staff have been transferred left and right to fill in the holes. My branch alone went from 12 people to 8. Our book budget went from 7 million spread amongst 50 branches..to 1 million. Every book/dvd counts.

I've had at least several instances where the patron (who is a mom) complains that it's the child's fault for not returning the books. :eek: Nevermind that they (the parent) was the one that signed the card for them and knew the rules/regulations.

modern_muslimah
01-06-2012, 09:38 PM
Wow..I'm a librarian and just can't imagine doing this.

Our system has a limit of $30. Once a patron goes over that limit, they receive at least two notices stating that they're in danger of being reported to the agency. After the last notice, we send their info to our collection agency.

Even then, their credit report is not immediately dinged, the collection agency will contact them and let them that they have X amount of days to either pay the fines/return the books. Usually it's THAT notice that gets people scurrying in to the libraries to pay:D

Libraries are suffering big time. My system alone has had to lay off half of its people...and we're a large system so it hurts because staff have been transferred left and right to fill in the holes. My branch alone went from 12 people to 8. Our book budget went from 7 million spread amongst 50 branches..to 1 million. Every book/dvd counts.

I've had at least several instances where the patron (who is a mom) complains that it's the child's fault for not returning the books. :eek: Nevermind that they (the parent) was the one that signed the card for them and knew the rules/regulations.

I think a lot of people don't understand how important it is to return library items. I have a feeling that a lot of people aren't even aware of the slashed budgets that libraries across the country have encountered. Really, the fines aren't even that important (unless they're really high). The materials are. One library I shadowed at actually allowed children to "read off" their fines instead of paying them. I thought it was cute and it really shows that libraries (well, I'm still wondering about the library in MA) don't have the intention of being punitive.

Skittl1321
01-06-2012, 09:40 PM
Our system has a limit of $30.

That's super low- at the rate our library fines ($1/day for most items) if you checked out a few things you'd hit that in no time.

I have a friend who went to get her perschools son's first library book (in a different system than my current one) and found out she had a $780 fine from when she was 12, on a single book. They went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book instead, and when her husband got back from a deployment they got the son a library card in his name.

What's weird is she had never gotten a notice, had no recollection of checking that book out (15 years earlier), and hadn't had it sent to collections. Even odder is I swear that library system has had amnesty dates, but maybe you only get amnesty if you go in and claim it, they don't just delete bills.


Another weird thing is that our library has a drive each winter to help "the needy" pay off their overdue book fines. I wonder if that is only for people who ALSO have returned the material, but are banned from getting anything new until they pay.