Library forgiving overdue items, outstanding fines

MANISTEE COUNTY — Under a bed, in the backseat of a car or blending in one’s own collection on a shelf; library books have a tendency to hide.

People are also prone to forget, and that’s why the Manistee County Library is happily willing to forgive.

Starting Monday, and running through June 3, patrons with overdue materials or outstanding fines will be forgiven at any county branch when returning items or asking for those fines to be waived.

“We are hoping that patrons who haven’t used the library recently because of fines on their account will come back and once again become active library users,” said Andrea Cosier, assistant director/head of youth services. “It’s a good way to get people using their cards again, and it’s also good way for us to recover a lot of our overdue materials that are out there.

“It works well for the patrons and it works well for us.”

Cosier said the library’s fine forgiving program isn’t held on a regular basis and in the past has only lasted for a one-week time frame.

Now, for a two-week window, patrons are allowed to return overdue items of any period of time without charge or ask to have fines already on their accounts to be forgiven at any Manistee County Library location.

The forgiveness event is for late fees only, so charges for lost or damaged items cannot be waived. However, patrons can set up a payment plan for lost or damaged items and continue to use the library.

The forgiveness event was strategically timed to transition into the library’s Summer Reading Program kick-off in the hopes that families who have not participated in the past due to fines on their accounts will feel welcome to rejoin.

“We don’t want fines to be a reason any child doesn’t use the library,” Cosier said. “We want to be here for the kids in the community, and of course their families too.”

The program is the latest in the library’s recent efforts to attract more patrons to its facilities.

“The purpose of the library is to serve the community,” Cosier said. “That’s always our focus, but we’ve taken a few steps recently to improve our service.

“We’ve changed our library card policy to allow better access for those who don’t live in Manistee County, but work or go to school here,” she said. “Anyone who lives in Michigan can get a free library card from any MCL location.

“We’ve also joined the Michigan eLibrary Catalog to provide our patrons access to the collections of nearly 400 libraries throughout Michigan, and we’re holding this forgiveness event to welcome people back who haven’t been using their cards due to charges on their account.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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