Friday, January 01, 2010
An Overdue Post about Overdue Books
Some years ago, when I was living back in Harrow, Middlesex, I forgot about to take back a library book I had borrowed. How much could the library fine be? I was aghast to find that I was being faced with a penalty which was more than twice the cost of a brand new copy of the book! I argued with the librarian that this was plainly a ridiculous state of affairs, and that I was unemployed at the time. It all fell on deaf ears. I paid up but I never borrowed another book from the library. Seldom borrow a book from any library, in fact. And I think I am not alone in being put off in this way.
In fact the value (or not) of fines has become a hotly debated issue among librarians. (See here too.)
And you might remember the case in America where a woman went through the indignity of being arrested and handcuffed for failing to return an overdue book.
Now the New York Times reports on how some US libraries have found creative - and I think very sensible - ways to get around the problem of outstanding library fines including via food donations, donated fees (both for charity) and amnesty days.
Mind you, some of the best people have managed to run up library fines in their time ...