Archive for Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Library halts fines on overdue books

June 7, 2006

The days of feeling guilty or embarrassed about those overdue books that can never seem to make it back to the library are gone.

In hopes of eliminating that guilt, the library has changed its policy and will no longer collect fines for overdue materials.

"We know people of Tonganoxie's intentions are good, and I know they're not intending to steal our books," said Sharon Moreland, library director. "They're just loving them a little longer than three weeks."

Moreland said she doesn't want to punish people for using the library and that's exactly what the fines were doing. She said she hopes that this new policy will make people feel more comfortable returning overdue items rather than feeling like they need to avoid the library forever.

Instead of charging fines, the library will set out a "guilt jar" where people who may have kept their book too long can still make a donation to help support the library.

Moreland estimated that over a year the library collects between $1,500 and $1,800 from overdue fines. But, she said, other libraries that have used the "guilt jar" system have actually made more money through those donations, so she doesn't expect the library to be monetarily hurt by the change.

From now on, the library will send out two warning notices of the overdue book. If the item is not returned a bill will be sent for the amount to replace it. However, if that amount of replacement is more than $100 the library will report it to the state because the material is considered city property.

"We're more concerned with getting the materials back rather than a nickel a day," Moreland said.

In addition to this new policy the library will also be adding a new book-drop to their facility.

The external drop box will be in the parking lot behind the building and also will replace the old book drop as the after-hours service.

The donated book drop previously belonged to the West Wyandotte Public Library.

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