Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Finer Points of Fines

Holy crap, y'all. Okay, so I'm a junkie. And today, I'm reading and I see an article titled "Police enforcement of library lending leaves 5 year-old in tears." I reluctantly click to read the article while thinking "Oh hell, ladies...really?"
So yeah - basically the public library in Charlton Massachusetts sent a "friendly" police reminder to 13 local residents to remind them that their library books were overdue. Understandably said delinquent patrons were not impressed. take matters further into crazy town the library spokesperson told the paper that they felt that the police visits would be "be a kinder way, a friendly reminder saying 'Hey can you bring this back,' rather than sending a summons," because she is high. Holy crap. If you want to see the local news report complete with little girl saying "I was scared" click here. I can only assume that each of her adorable dimples is a coffin nail in someone's career.
You know what? I get it, it sucks when people don't bring things back. The library I work for charges 5cents per day per overdue item with a cap at $5. To be honest, this does not really entice many of our worst offenders to bring back anything. In our school the fines are meant to be a deterrent to overdues, and we are usually willing to let kids slide if they are polite. We are almost always willing to make a deal. We make it very clear to them that we'd rather have our books back then take their money. I understand that these people in Massachusetts want their stuff back, but this is insane. And now it's national news.
Here's the thing, folks - we have been having the "Are Libraries Dead?!" debate since I started grad school. Librarians, when you do things like this: things that make us look like nervous old biddies, things that make us look naggy and mean, things that make us look like relics YOU ARE KILLING US. I mean really.
Not to mention for all of us Stephen King fans out there this is conjuring up uncomfortable memories of The Library Policeman.
Not how I want to be thought of...

So please, librarians, I'm begging out the cause and don't do anything else that's going to get us put in the news for being nuts.

1 comment:

bee said...

Someone brought this to my attention - it's the link to the Charlton Libraries response to the whole thing.
I'm not trying to say these are bad people or bad librarian, it's just that this bad press thing really frustrates me.