Librarian checking in (yuk, yuk, yuk):
Not that one.
Don’t sweat the librarians. They’re cool with the situation. They know there’s a ruthless, respected academic machine that will dun, harass and hound you down like a vermin for the rest of your life: the Alumni Office. Library fines?! You’ll be lucky to get by without endowing a Chair, much less paying off the astroturf in the new stadium.
I LOVE this thread! Damn, any wonder I love my profession? By and large book lovers are a pure delight. The “keep the change”, “let me give more”, “can you use this book?” generosity isn’t unusual–but it’s always heartwarming and welcome.
Most librarians HATE overdue fines. Auntie Pam nailed it: it forces people into unnatural reading schedules. Don’t know about anyone else, but it seems like all the books I reserve come in at once–which means either crash reading or turning some back. Besides, it’s a logistical and postage nightmare. Every single “overdue” title has to be checked against the shelves to make sure the book didn’t come back before the notice was produced. It’s expensive in terms of staff time AND discourages readers. Talk about “lose/lose”.
But many public libraries are REQUIRED to charge fines. Simple fact, it’s a token revenue stream in an agency that can’t show many. Pay for water? Business licenses? Trash pick-up? Ambulance calls? Renting a park shelter? It gets very hairy at budget time.
Most people are so honest it hurts. We have a $3 limit, so fines don’t get too overwhelming in the first place. Donations? GREAT! Wipe the fine and every one wins. Kids with fines? Offer them the option of coming for a few hours dusting shelves, putting books away, etc. to “clear the charge”. Most of them have a blast, wander back when they’re bored to help out some more, get really possesive of “their shelves”–and fight to get hired as student shelvers.
I didn’t mean to get carried away. Book lovers and library fans just ROCK in too many ways to count. I hate that something as stupid as fines discourage some of the nicest, most honest, interesting and INTERESTED people around.