In a given month, nearly 500,000 items churn through the Austin Public Library System’s 21 libraries — books, music CDs, movies and magazines that are lent to users with a promise to return them by their due dates.
But an American-Statesman/KVUE News joint review shows that $1.1 million in taxpayer-purchased inventory has been checked out over the past five years but hasn’t been returned.
Patrons owe an additional $861,571 in fines from 2008 through 2012 for items that were returned after their due dates.
Eva Poole, president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association, said Austin’s losses “seem to be right on par.”
Meanwhile, the library has no formal system for replacing lost or stolen items. This year, for instance, the library allotted $2.8 million of its $26 million budget to purchase new books, CDs and other inventory, and officials said their top priority is replacing popular and classic works.
Texas: Thefts Cost Austin Public Library System More Than $1 Million in Five Years
Filed by February 17, 2013on