Thursday, June 11, 2009

Library owed over $54,000 in lost materials/fines

Library owed over $54,000 in lost materials/fines

The Kate Love Simpson Morgan County Library Board enacted a policy at its May 2009 board meeting to use a collection agency beginning July 1 to help encourage patrons with overdue materials to return them to the library.

The Library Board voted to pass the cost of this service on to each patron whose account will be handled by the collection agency. 

“This new policy was developed with fairness to all library patrons in mind. Materials not returned are not available for others to use or borrow. Also, if materials are not returned, in most cases, money from the library budget is used to replace them,” said Blythe Schubert, director. “Library patrons owe the citizens of Morgan County over $54,000 for lost items and fines. This same money could much better be used to purchase new items for patron use instead of replacing non-returned items.”

The Library Board hopes this practice will encourage all library borrowers to return items by the date due. Fines for overdue books will be 10 cents per day starting July 1 with a maximum of $5.00 per item in overdue charges, Mrs. Schubert explained.

Most library items may be renewed by bringing the item with the patron’s library card for presentation at the circulation desk, by telephoning either library, or by using the library’s website. Also, book depositories for returning material when the libraries are closed are conveniently located for patron use. 

Patrons who cannot afford to pay the full amount of their materials and fines may also set up payment plans to avoid credit problems. 

The library will still notify patrons that their materials are overdue and patrons will have ample time to respond prior to being turned over for collection. Unique Management Services has been selected as the collection agency for the library. Unique Management works with libraries throughout the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. They specialize in the recovery of overdue materials and have an excellent record of treating patrons professionally, according to Mrs. Schubert. 

“The library is serious about recovering overdue materials. Patrons who do not return materials are stealing from the library,” Mrs. Schubert said. “Fortunately, only a very small percentage of patrons using the library do not return materials as agreed. This new policy will not affect the vast majority of patrons who return materials on time. The library is committed to provide excellent service and to have materials available for all patrons.”

The library in McConnelsville is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Kate Love Simpson Library telephone number is 962-2533. 

The Chesterhill Branch Library is open Monday through Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Chesterhill Branch telephone number is 554-7104.
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