In honor of this year’s National Library Week theme “Libraries Lead” Central decided to forgive all library fines for students that either brought their book back or came to ask for their fine to be forgiven. Over the span of the two weeks, the librarians have forgiven over $100 in fines.
Before national library week there were 176 books overdue (roughly the average number of books overdue each school year) in Central High School’s library. Now the number of library books overdue is down to 161. This is a temporary tactic our librarians have used to try to get their overdue books back, but on a regular basis other methods are used.
The first line of defense against losing books is the libraries due date system which dates back to the 50s. When you check out a book, they stamp the return date on the inside of the book, showing when the book needs to be returned in two weeks. Each day after the due date 10 cents is charged. After 20 days the fine maxes out at $2 per book.
The second defense tactic regularly used by the librarians is tracking down students and requesting their overdue book. “There always seems to be an excuse,” assistant librarian Luciene Holen said. “‘I left it at home’ or ‘I left it in my car.’” Holen is still focusing on overdue books from the beginning of the 2017 school year through Christmas break.
Even with these lines of defense, many fines are not paid and many books are not returned. “At the end of the year we will probably have around 200 books overdue,” said librarian Marsha Mertes. The overdue fines for students enrolled in Central for the following school year will have their fines carry over.
In the past, overdue or lost books had an impact on graduating seniors and students scheduling for next year’s classes. Currently, this method has been retired.
Overdue nonfiction and fiction books are always a toss-up on how many are missing, even though fiction is checked out more, nonfiction books are not checked back in at a higher rate. The Central library has 25,550 books and files available to the students.
One notable incident concerned a book checked out in 1957: A Tale of Two Cities. The student who checked the book out never returned it, and at his 45th class reunion (in 2002) he wrote an apologetic letter to the librarians and returned it. Though the book will most likely never be checked out again, the librarians found his act humorous and are always willing to have lost CHS books returned back to the library.
Photo: Once Upon A Shelf By Virginia Alonso on Flickr