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Library fines could become a thing of the past if a group of UK librarians get their way. A fiery debate has been raging for the past week between librarians, with anti-fine campaigners describing the charges as punitive, old-fashioned and creating a negative impression of libraries.
"Libraries are facing competition from television, magazines, the internet, e-books, yet they have this archaic and mad idea of charging people money for being slightly late," said library consultant Frances Hendrix - a loud voice in the debate which has been taking place on an online forum for librarians. "It's all so negative, unprofessional and unbusinesslike; like any business, libraries need not to alienate their customers."
The Guardian article continues: "One librarian suggested adopting the ancient practice of some monasteries, in which monks who offended in the handling of books were publicly cursed. Another pointed to Soviet Russia, where they said that offenders' names were published in newspapers to shame them into returning their books. In New Zealand town Palmerston North next week, library users returning late books are being challenged to beat librarians on Guitar Hero to have their fines waived.