Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Library Fines

It looks like the editorial cartoonist at the The Onion had a bad day at the library. You can see the entire cartoon here. Those of you who use our bookmobile know that we do not collect fines, unless you insist, as some of you do. There are a number of reasons for this. 1)we do not have predictable access to the fully functioning circulation system and have to rely on off-line back-up systems for keeping track of books. This invariably causes mistakes or problems that will trigger fines for you, our patrons. 2) We recognize that for many of our patrons, mobility is an issue and sometimes it is just not possible to make it to the bookmobile. Some of our patrons do not have telephones or internet access either. 3) We have practical and philosophical issues with the practice of collecting fines. Studies have shown that fines are a deterrent to people bringing their books back to libraries. Also, people who need access to the libraries the most are those least able to pay fines, some of which can be quite exorbitant.

Do librarians deserve the negative stereotype as evidenced above? Of course not. But a few do. You know who you are.

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