Monday, August 25, 2008

A Fine Debate

Are Grafton, Wisconsin libraries going a little too far to get their library books back? Heidi Dalibor ignored letters telling her to return to library books (both Dan Brown novels), and the next thing she knew she was being handcuffed and lead away from her parents home. [Via]

Library fines have been the topic of hot debate in the UK, as Alison Flood reports in the Guardian, with anti-fine protesters calling charges for overdue books :
... punitive, old-fashioned and creating a negative impression of libraries
and ultimately alinienating users - at a time when reading has to be encouraged?

(There was more discussion of the issue on the Guardian blog.)

But what alternatives are there to fining? :
One librarian suggested adopting the ancient practice of some monasteries, in which monks who offended in the handling of books were publicly cursed. Another pointed to Soviet Russia, where they said that offenders' names were published in newspapers to shame them into returning their books. In New Zealand town Palmerston North next week, library users returning late books are being challenged to beat librarians on Guitar Hero to have their fines waived.
Perhaps you can think of some better ones?


Ted Mahsun said...

Guitar Hero? If those kiwi librarians feel confident enough to challenge late borrowers in that game, I would feel circumspect about what those librarians actually do during working hours. *cocks eyebrow*

I guess when I grow up I'm gonna be a kiwi librarian!

gnute said...

I am ALL for library fines. I don't think it is up to libraries to be lenient in order to foster reading - this task is largely up to parents and teachers. Besides, we also have to educate the public to be civic-minded mah.

Anonymous said...

The girl in the photo having her mug shot taken looks suspiciously happy...!

Anonymous said...

Well you want your prison pic to look good :)

Mag said...

Guitar Hero?? Hahaha!

John Ling said...

Oddly enough, I lived in Palmerston North not too long ago. It's has the funkiest library I've ever been to, that's for sure.

animah said...

I'm keeping the DBKL children's library going with my fines.

I am fine with fines (sorry it was begging to be said). On alternatives, perhaps write a few lines addressed to the head librarian on why the offender could not return the book on time.

This could be posted on the bulletin board and make for hillarious reading.

JPalmer said...

Dunedin Library is awesome (and I suspect so are other Kiwi Libraries) and I am happy with the fine. Fine them to make your libraries finer I say!