California: San Jose Library Amnesty Weighed as Unpaid Fines Near $7 Million
From the Mercury News:
A whopping 39 percent of all San Jose library cardholders — about 187,000 accounts — have racked up fines, and it’s only getting worse.
Now city officials are talking about everything from reducing fines, which are higher than at other Bay Area library systems, to an amnesty program to lure patrons back, effectively declaring it’s more important to get residents and books back into the libraries to promote literacy than to punish patrons for overdue materials, even if it means giving up some badly needed revenue. The city would not identify those with unpaid fines.
[Councilman Pierluigi] Oliverio says it’s critical to “welcome back” cardholders who’ve been shut out because of fines, especially children who rely on the resources. He proposes a library amnesty program to forgive penalties for two weeks — but only if people return the outstanding materials.
It’s not a new idea, and amnesty programs have worked in other big cities, such as Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But it’s never been tried in San Jose.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.