Public reaction to the prospect of stiffer Seattle library fines was just what you'd expect: mixed. And a bit limited.
City Library Board members are considering raising daily overdue-materials fines from 15 cents to 25 cents, with a maximum fine of $8 for each overdue piece of material. They're also pondering whether to notify parents or guardians of youths 17 and under who owe more than $25 in fines, and to send some youths' backlogged fines to a collection agency, which is not now done.
All this comes as the library has had its budget cut $1.17 million this year and faces even more as the city confronts a two-year, $121-million revenue shortfall through 2012. Library hours and some staff have already been cut and there are warnings that more reductions are possible.
Raising fines and fees could raise $650,000 per year, according to library staff, in addition to the $650,000 the library expects to save by shutting branches down for a week, starting Monday.
Interesting ideas from patrons: 1) accepting credit cards and PayPal
2) allowing payment online and 3) try being a little more serious about collecting fines. Story from Seattle PI.