The notion of shared library materials -- books, CDs, DVDs, etc. -- is one that relies heavily on a social tenet we're supposed to learn in kindergarten: if you borrow something, make sure you give it back.
Virtually all library patrons follow the rules, but the economic ripples caused by the 1 percent or so who don't eventually become a significant storm surge.
The overdue book stories just never get old for me. The Mercury News reports on a Library book returned 78 years late by an Alabama man. He discovered a national parks volume borrowed from an Ohio library in April 1927. He says he is relieved he won't get charged for this overdue book. Library spokeswoman Carla Davis said she doesn't know of any other books that have come back so tardy, although a lot of overdue materials are still out -- some 20,000 were due to be returned on Monday alone.
The Daily Herald [Illinois] has picked up on libraries using collection agencies. "We don't want their money," Nichols Library Circulation Supervisor Karen Knight said. "We just want the stuff back."
That "stuff" is costing a bundle when it's not returned, officials say.
"A lot of people think, 'Well, it's just the library,'" Knight said. "But we could be talking about significant amounts of money."
With libraries losing funding like water through a sieve, it only makes sense to keep track of the money that's owed by delinquent patrons. The Ottawa Public Library is doing just that, installing a computer program that will keep tabs electronically on scofflaw book borrowers. Although they've already been using the services of a collection agency, the Library is planning to get them connected to a debt-collection program and recover what they estimate is more than $1 million in late fees.
York, Maine is one of several towns and cities that have decided to contribute late fees paid by patrons towards tsunami relief. Many Maine libraries chose to begin the drive last week (Maine library week), and most are contributing to UNICEF. The idea was spearheaded by Elizabeth Moran, director of the Camden Public Library. Story from The Portsmouth Herald .
twistedlibrarian writes "Good thing he didn't run afoul of Seinfeld's Library Police.
"Billy Hawse is relieved he won't get charged for this overdue book.
And with good reason -- at $549 and counting, The Book of the National Parks would have one pricey fine.
The Huntsville, Ala., man found the Akron-Summit County Public Library book while fording through his late parents' estate. The due date made him gasp -- April 14, 1927."
A very short article from the Associated Press says When Michelle Nash got a bill for more than $350 in overdue fines and replacement costs from the Anoka County Library, she knew something was wrong.
It turned out that somebody else had been checking out CD's and books with the library card that her ten-year-old son, Garrett, lost last summer.
Garrett lost his wallet when he fell off his bike a block from home. The last time he recalled seeing his library card, it was in his wallet.
USA Today tells us that librarians in Michigan want to crack down on overdue book borrowers...and they mean business.Bay City Library Director Frederick Paffhausen pointed the finger at one patron from Bad Axe who owes $1,190 for 73 items â€” mainly science-fiction books â€” hoarded for more than a year.
Another AP story on another library on "frustrated librarians" proposing a crackdown on the worst overdue book offenders that could lead to criminal charges and up to 90 days in jail. Patrons keep an average of $25,000 in overdue materials out of the county's library system each year, officials said.