Actually I have no idea what happened at the library today- I am off until Monday and we are in Gettysburg tonight- and don’t plan on returning home until Sunday evening. But I remembered this story from a couple weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong I do love my job. I have only had a couple bad experiences and that happens with anything.
What I am writing about today is fines. We have had folks come in and write checks up to $150 for overdue books/ dvd’s or lost books/ dvd’s and not bad an eye. Then you have the phone call I got a couple weeks ago on a Monday. This lady called and said Friday night she had dropped her books in the books drop. The girl who worked on Saturday should have back dated it when she checked it in to Friday but she didn’t. The ladies books were due on Friday. She calls Monday morning and explains how she had dropped her books off Friday but when she looked online she had a fine of .40. I could tell she was really concerned about this .40 fine. I told her not to worry about it it would be taken care of. When I got off the phone I explained the situation to my supervisor and we just deleted her fine.
Once in a while we will also get the patron who comes in and wants a library card. We always check for a duplicate card in the system- and a few times the person coming in to get a ‘new’ card- actually has a card from another library in our system and big fines on that card. The patron gives us this befuddled look like she wasn’t aware of it. Of course she can’t get a new card- she needs to pay the fine on the card she has. They usually leave quietly. I know and they know that they were just trying to pull one on us. I also know of one patron who came in- and was in this situation, they left and came back on another day when someone else was working the front desk and tried it with them- didn’t work there either. We never see them again. They aren’t going to pay the fine.
Another odd thing is- people will come in and say right out “I know I am late with this book I am sure I owe a fine.” I laugh and tell them I bet you don’t– and nine times out of ten I am right, they don’t have a fine. Usually those honest folks are one day late and we give them a couple days forgiveness before the fines start to accumulate.
We had a fine forgiveness week during National Library Week. They can be forgiven no matter what their fines are- as long as the books/ cd/ dvd’s are all returned. We put this out so everyone will know. We only had a handful who came in to be forgiven. Our regular patrons are very good about not running up fines I guess.