Harrison library charges fine for late mom's overdue book


When it comes to overdue books there are apparently no excuses - not even death - at the Harrison Public Library.

That's the lesson a town woman learned when she was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that had been checked out by her mother, who died before she could return it herself.

"I was in shock,'' Elizabeth Schaper said of the incident at the Bruce Avenue library branch. "This has rocked me to my core."


"This has rocked me to my core."

But your mother's death was a discomfort?

But there's still a closing call for his firing. This is my fav quote:

"Any idiot would understand the principle - it's about simple human decency."

Um, okay. Maybe implying others are idiots isn't that decent itself, though? (not that the circ worker wasn't being idiotic, but still... there's the legal principle that, yes, the money was still owed). Consumerist have had several stories about something like this happening.

That's a bad mindset for desk staff to have.1) No one needs $.50 that bad.2) That person's good will and what they will say about the library is worth more than the fine.3) I've comped people for less than that. Who cares? Fines are about making sure you get your stuff back on-time or close to it. They're not supposed to be punitive or a stream on income.And I don't want to hear someone's sob story about their library can't afford toilet paper or air and they need ever nickel in fines or someone on staff is going to start hooking. No one's budget is that tight.Desk staff should be encouraged to make judgment calls like this and there should a culture that says our rules are supposed to accomplish something. They're not supposed to be ends unto themselves.And so what if the lady was a snot. What's it to you (not you John, the commenters to the original post)? Got a dead mother? Why don't I travel back in time to the week she kicked and you and I will have a nice debate and we'll see how you sound. Quoted in the newspaper.

Boy, you sure did get your panties in twist, huh?

Where do you draw the line? What if someone comes in with $10, $20, $50 or more in fines and believes they should be waived? Do you demand proof?

You draw the line at collecting the money from who owes it.

If I return an overdue book for someone else, I don't owe the money. The person who checked out the book owes the money (unless the borrower is my dependent child). It's not appropriate to even disclose that money is owed to anyone other than the borrower, much less make demand for payment.

The library can make a claim against the estate like any other creditor.

This is just an example of poor customer service training.

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