Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fines (Yet Again)

A quick tip of the hat to one of my favorite syndicated columnists, Chuck Shepherd, whose August 27 edition of "News of the Weird" noted that one of the items he can no longer list as "news" or "weird" is that "Some libraries do have policies to have patrons arrested for long-overdue library books." That library policies are so onerous and so ubiquitous that they no longer qualify as weird does not bode well for us.

1 comment:

Diedre Conkling said...

This may be a bit of good news. One of the medium size library systems in Oregon is considering no longer charging fines. It happens to be a library system that is facing some finacial hard times but still thinks that this change might be a good idea.

Here in Lincoln County, Oregon only one public library still charges fines. The rest of us have moved away from them. I don't think any of us use collection agencies or threaten jail.

I have always advocated against fines because I think they cause so much stress on the staff dealing with the public at circulation desks. I do think that people should be charged for not returning items at all but this charge affects fewer people than fines so I have always hoped caused less stress.

Of course, there are many other reasons for not charging fines but the health of staff just happens to be my top reason.