Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My library books were seriously overdue but the fines should be waived because... 

"I loaned them to friend and her house slid off its foundation with the books in it! The house was condemned! Did you want me to break the law and endanger my life to retrieve the books? Are you saying the books are worth more than my life?"
(She tried to use the same excuse the next year.)

"I'm battling a possible addiction."

"Due to the richness of the material I couldn't possibly savour these books in the paltry time allowed me." (12 weeks)

"I thought society was going to collapse and it didn't, but I left the books I had checked out on survivalism in the woods and now I can't find them."

A man's sister sent some overdue interlibrary loan books back with an apologetic note for their lateness. The books were European 'art' texts with pictures of naked children. Right after he checked the books out, her brother had gone to jail for 6 months for pedophilia. When he was released he did the honorable thing, which is hang himself, although not completely honorable, because he didn't return his library books first. His sister found the books, a pile of overdue notices as well as some other really unpleasant things when she was cleaning out his apartment. What a grim task that must have been.

Your blog has been possibly the most entertaining one I have seen in a while. I really like the way you write, as well.
While I cracked up at "the honorable thing, which was hang himself," the next sentence was quite sad. I can't imagine having to be "a cleaner."
Please tell me you let the kiddie-diddler's sister off the hook.
From personal experience. I had a guy return his and his wife's books late.

He did not ask for his fines to be waved but he was very apoligetic. His wife had just died (true).

I did not have the heart to even mention overdue fines.

Eventually the Library I worked in at the time abolished fines. We would not let you continue borrowing till the books were returned or accounted for but there were no fines.

One of the reasons this came about was a parent returning their childs books had to pay some nasty fines. The parent dragged that child out the library and the words will stay with me forever. "Thats it you will never borrow another book!" The child never did.

That child was denied the pleasure of reading and using the library!

It became obvious that fines were a barrier to what we were trying to achieve.

They had to go.

In some circumstances they may be necessary but in most they are not.

There are better ways.
We don't charge kids fines, for just this reason. We want our material returned, but not at the expense of causing psychological trauma. Often these matters are outside the control of a child, anyway.

Our fines max out for adult material at $5. If the patron doesn't return the material after a couple of months the patron gets charged for the item. If the patron returns the material, even after he has been charged, he only has to pay $5. I think this is more than reasonable.
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