April 30, 2017

New Mexico: Two Overdue Items Land Public Library User in Jail, Materials Valued at $35.98

The following story is now receiving national attention.

A number of issues come into play here including ethical, public relations, information dissemination, and simply doing the right thing. They involve both the public library and the local judicial system.

Do stories like this hurt all public libraries?

From the Albuquerque Journal:

Lori Teel said she can’t remember checking out a “Twilight” book and movie from the Portales Public Library, but she’s not likely to forget her overnight stay in jail for failing to return them.

Teel was arrested and handcuffed at her Portales home in front of her five small children earlier this month because of $35.98 worth of library materials allegedly taken out and not returned, according to a tort claim notice sent to the Portales city clerk on Monday.

The overdue library fine led to a summons for Teel to appear in Portales Municipal Court, according to the claim. A municipal court judge issued warrants for Teel’s arrest last year after she failed to appear in court, but the summons and warrants were mailed to an address at which Teel hadn’t lived since childhood, and she never received any notices, she and her attorney say.

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Her children, ages 1 to 10, stayed in a neighbor’s home until Teel was released the following morning on $610 bond.

“My kids are still very emotional,” Teel said. “They had to stay with a complete stranger. My 3-year-old is traumatized over it. She will not leave my side.”

Read the Complete Article

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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