One time a friend of mine was thinking about going to college, so I suggested she go to the library to research ways to pay for school. Tina was afraid to use the library because she hadn’t returned the library books she’d borrowed while still in high school. She hadn’t returned the books because she was afraid of how much she might owe in overdue fines.
If Tina lived Down Under, she might have cause to fear. Tuesday’s Washington Post reported that New Zealander Marie Sushames had never returned a library book she’d checked out in 1945, and this month the Rotorua Public Library presented her with a bill for $6,114.
Too bad Marie and Tina didn’t live in Fairfax County. Our library system has a limit on how much borrowers can owe in overdue fines. “The maximum fine for children’s books is $5; the maximum fine for adult items is $10,” explains Circulation Manager Elaine Price.
This means that if you’re cleaning out the basement and find a couple of overdue John Grisham novels, the most you’ll owe is $10 per book.
“It’s better to bring things back,” says Associate Director Marianne Gearhart. Returning books allows others to enjoy them; having a cap on fines helps make coming clean a less scary idea.
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-- Lois Kirkpatrick, Marketing & PR Manager