Stolen card brings $322 in late fees

This fine is not so fine
Lorain Public Library patron Caprice Anderson got a big surprise at the main library Wednesday.

It was a bill for $322 in late fees. But she said she hadn’t been to the library in months and she never checked out the items for which her card was used.

“I’m actually a frequent book reader, but I normally buy my books,” said Anderson, 27, of Lorain. “I was going to go to the library and find something I haven’t read. That’s when I found out my card was used.”

Anderson doesn’t know who used her library card, and filed a police report after coming across the staggering late fees.

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Security

Used to be that there were not many ways to abuse a stolen library card. Bibliophile thieves were not that big of a problem. Purses and wallets were stolen to get credit cards and cash.

In an eBay world a stolen library card is a way to obtain hundreds of dollars of materials that can be sold online.

Libraries should make their patrons aware of how a stolen library card can be misused so that people know to promptly call in their library card as stolen if their wallet or purse is taken.

Many libraries warn people to call in about their library card if it is stolen but I think it is important to mention the eBay angle on what can be done with the card. There are innocent souls in the world that cannot imagine the things that the bad guys are doing. Because they don't understand what can be done with their card they don't place high importance on reporting the card stolen or they think the will tell the library about their card on the next visit in a week or two.

It also might be useful to have some level of security on top of the library card. Requesting to see another piece of ID or having a code word might be an option. My bank has a code word for each member. Whenever I do a transaction I have to say the code word to help verify who I am.

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