Cincy Libraries Going After Delinquent Patrons


The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is enlisting the help of a collection agency to get back items gone missing on 2000+ accounts. More here from the
Cincinnati Enquirer
. The article also tells users to forget about waiting for an amnesty day. The library hasn't had one since the 80s, and has no plans to offer one.


The NYTimes had a story in the last few days about how the City of New York has rarely had the heart to cut off people's water, no matter how late the payments. That's finally starting to change, apparently.

Now, if we read later how the NYPL has been kicking butt to get books returned, then we can at least applaud the consistency.

So, is Cincinnati also getting after late utility bills, or just library users?

I think I'd try an amnesty day FIRST, then do the collection agency. Public libraries must maintain good relations with the public, and I think under the amnesty day they will get some of the items back under better terms. You don't want a significant portion of the population hating you at a time like this. Also, collection agencies get a cut of what they get for you. I'd try to get as much of it back without having to line someone else's pockets.

We all hear about how overdue fines really don't make up a significant portion of a library's budget. There are some libraries that will waive fines for a can of non-perishable food, that the library gives to the poor. I kind of like that idea.

The people that complain about a few dollars in fines are the ones who would oppose any tax increase or referendum for the librarys anyway, at least I think so.

Some patron brought in a soaking wet book which was part of an alphabetical children's set. The volume would have to be replaced so we would have to get an identical item or the $17 it would cost us to replace it. ( I checked amazon sometimes you can find things cheaper but not this time)

After bitching and moaning about how they checked it out that way (yes we just washed it and hadn't had time to put the book in the dryer) the man said "Fine, I'll talk to my wife about it she checked it out. But, I can tell you we're never coming to this library again we will use the school library."

I then told him I can't waive the replacement cost but so his children could use the library I would personally pay the fee and I took $20 out of my pocket. He said the money was not the point but that the book was like that when they got it (it was still wet, you could dry the pages with a paper towel it was obvious someone got it wet just before bringing it back). He said it was the principle of the thing and we were trying to get them to pay for something they didn't do. These were not poor people, unless there is some welfare program that gives out monogrammed dress shirts.

I said it was unfortunate that he was going to deprive his children of the use of the library just because of a damaged book. He developed an attitude and said he would discuss it with his wife and stomped out. I blocked the card until they cough up the $17.

The kids have been back with the mom but nothing gets checked out (the kids could get cards but only the mom has one). Geez people seventeen bucks and you have a BMW SUV. I guess it was the principle, the principle of not being personally responsible for anything.

People who like the library and appreciate the library's services bring their items back and pay their fines.

Exactly, some people will just never bring things back, amnesty or not, these are the people that need to be made to pay.

Our library uses a collection agency, and guess what? It works. Sure, they take their fee but we still net ahead and get more materials back, and that's better than it was before.

Those who bitch cannot say they weren't warned (they got plenty of notices), and those who do bring back their books on time don't appreciate scofflaws that take or wreck all the good stuff.

They no longer get away with it just because we have the "pathetic friend" complex: "here, take my books, spit on them and stomp on them, as long as your're my friend!"

Credit reporting really gets their attention.