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  1. #21

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    I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a library fine scofflaw. I did return the books -- ages ago, but at the time didn't have $80 to pay the fine and just let it slide. Now, 20 years later I still haven't paid that fine and my borrowing privileges are revoked. If I didn't have access to the university library, I know I would manage to scrape the $$ together and pay it, but right now I'm focusing more on paying off my medical bills.

    With the university library, they send out a notice once a book is 7 days overdue and then another one two weeks later. After that they will assess a "Lost Book Charge" of $125/book once it gets to 40 days overdue, which is definitely an incentive to return any checked out books. Further borrowing privileges are blocked and if the book isn't returned or fine paid, they can take further action by either (a) holding up registration for courses if a student or (b) deducting it from one's paycheck if you are a university employee. So far it's kept me on "good behavior" wrt to my library interactions in recent years, that is. About 15 years ago, I had my paycheck held hostage because I had managed to compile lost book charges that totaled more than my 2 weeks earnings. Needless to say, I cleared that up the very same day.

  2. #22

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    If I remember right,

    adult books/audiobooks are charged 20 cents every day it is late.

    Children books are charged 10 or 15 cents. (can't remember)

    DVDs are a $1/day

    We allow one courtesy "waive" per patron...otherwise it has to be extreme circumstance (you were in the hospital, etc) before we will waive future fines.

    Children under the age of 16 cannot get a fully-active library card without their guardian present. If they show up with a school ID and no guardian, we will issue a card..but it is only good for 7 days and they may only check out two items. We also send a letter home to the guardian to sign it so that the child may receive full privileges (in our system, a fully activated card means a patron can check out 50 items at any one time).
    "Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him."

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    If the library had given the card to the little girl without the parents' involvement, it would have been very likely mentioned in the article. The mother would have said that she knew nothing about her daughter having a library card, let alone having overdue books, which would have been a reasonable excuse. It wasn't mentioned though.
    I don't think this was the case either. I was just mentioning how some libraries have a more lax policy wrt to lending privileges for children.
    "If people are looking for guarantees, they should buy appliances at Sears and stay away from human relationships."~Prancer

  4. #24

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    Our library made the decision not to charge charge fines for overdue children's books. Yes, I'm sure that a few families abuse this, but we've seen too many instances where parents won't let their kids take home books because they're afraid of accruing fines. We think it is more important that children are encouraged and supported in using the library, and that low-income families, for whom fines are particularly onerous, don't have any barriers that might make them less willing to use the library.

    It hasn't been a huge problem. And, remembering the time my then preschool aged D managed to slip a picture book behind a bookshelf at home -- not found for several months -- I'm thankful that fines didn't apply.

    I'd bet we lose far more in adult books that are stolen than we do in children's books that are returned late.

  5. #25

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    I am soooo bad about returning items on time. But due to this thread, I just renewed my stuff so I have another 3 weeks to return them. Thanks!

  6. #26
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    My library is such a pain sometimes, but our fines have gone down in the past year...I think they went down to 15¢/item/day overdue.

    They also set up the best thing ever-email service to remind you 3 days in advance of the book being due! I've been saved a whole bunch of times because of that.

  7. #27
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    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.

  8. #28

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    Once again, Charlton is a very small town. Until about 20 years ago, their police chief was the only full-time law enforcement officer they had. It's only been since the real eastate boom in the '80s when some farms were developed into housing that the town has had enough tax revenue to hire full-time police officers. Even, so there's not a lot of crime there (at least compared to the surrounding towns) so I can understand why it might be considered cost-effective to send police out to remind people about their overdue books rather than have them driving aimlessly around rural roads "on patrol" or just sitting in the police station waiting for the phone to ring about a shoplifter down at the Xtra-Mart or a fender-bender at the post office.

    I don't know the Charlton library fine system, but my town library hasn't changed it's fines since I got my library card decades ago when I was 6. It's 2 cents a day and they only count the days that the library is open. The fines top out at the replacement cost of the book. This is because of the (ridiculous) way the library funding is structured. Overdue book fees go back into the town's General Budget Fund while the Library Book Budget is funded by fees from Dog and Cat Licences. (I know, it doesn't make sense, but that's the way it's set up.) So the library does a lot to promote dog and cat registration and almost nothing to collect overdue fines, since they don't get to keep that money.

    I'm also assuming that the only reason the media picked up this story in the first place was because it was a slow-news day.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrr50 View Post
    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 live in a small city. Our police don't have a lot to do, they have time to drive by my house 3 times a day when I'm on vacation. They have time to stop and have a chat. They'd have time to collect a library book if needed, though I doubt they ever have.

    That doesn't mean the city wants to get rid of them. We know they are there for when we do need them, but as a tax-payer, I'd much prefer they didn't have much to do. It means nothing is happening in the community!

    (Although it baffles me that our city apparently has a SWAT force, but we don't have a paid fire department.)

    (There was an article recently about Detroit only having it's precents open during business hours- ours only are. I had no idea that large cities had 24 hour non-emergency stations. Though I suppose it makes sense for more dangerous places- you may want police help, but not need 911. Here, you can only go in from 9-5, otherwise you have to call 911.)

  10. #30
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    Great use of police resources.

    Whilst the mother is an idiot, this is ridiculously heavy-handed.

  11. #31
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    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?
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 01-09-2012 at 04:10 PM.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrr50 View Post
    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.

  13. #33
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    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.)
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 01-09-2012 at 06:28 PM.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    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.

    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.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindSpirit View Post
    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.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 01-10-2012 at 07:02 PM.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    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.
    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

  17. #37

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    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.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    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:

    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    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.

    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".

  19. #39
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    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.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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