The Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees are cracking down on people who haven’t returned overdue materials. Library Director Sara Laughlin said she wants customers to learn that when they borrow something they have to bring it back.
“We became aware over the last couple of years we had more than $600,000 worth of items missing, fines and uncollected fees,” Laughlin said. With such a tightened budget Laughlin says this is a huge amount of money and that library users must be more responsible.
The Monroe County public library serves an estimated 85,000 patrons and on any given day can check-in and out about 7,000 books, CDs, magazines, and other items. Though, library members receive a courtesy email two days before materials are due, some have managed to still be more than 25 weeks late on returning items.
Circulation Manager Bara Swinson said the library has also implemented another program to assist with literacy in the event that some families truly don’t have the funds to pay back the overdue amount.
“Children can sign up for a program now and earn credit against whatever fees are on their account by reading,” Swinson said. “And for each item read and checked out and returned the children earn a $5.00 waiver coupon, which can help with literacy and payoff.”
It’s not realistic that all the fines will be paid, but Laughlin does expect the collection agency to retrieve between 50% and 75% of the overdue funds, or the materials borrowed.