I've even observed, or gotten caught up in, bizarre games of one-ups-man-ship about fines.
|Photo courtesy: Elena Roussakis|
Flickr Creative Commons
"I have, like, six dollars in fines right now."
"Six? That's nothing! I've got $22 in fines, and four books I just can't find."
I started this calendar year with a resolution not to incur ANY fines. I held out for a few months, but like most people, my resolutions usually don't last all that long.
I've probably paid $15-20 in fines over the last calendar year. I console myself: well, I'm making a small contribution to the library with my fine money. That's not such a bad thing, right?
NEW KNOWLEDGE: In my city, FINE MONEY DOES NOT GO TO THE LIBRARY. Yes, it's dutifully collected by circulation desk librarians, often literally by nickels and dimes. But from there, it ultimately goes into our city "General Fund."
Yep. The City.
Now, I love my city. I love where I live. But I (almost cheerfully) pay my taxes, and I volunteer. They don't need even MORE from me, especially when I can easily avoid these fees by being just a teensy bit more diligent, more organized, or at the very least, a little less foolish and a little more realistic about what I can read within 3-5 weeks. Or for heavens sake, just go on the library website and RENEW materials promptly, Silly Self!
SO... the moral of the story: my effort to avoid fines is about to be redoubled.
I challenge you to ask your local library: what happens to the money you pay in fines? Is that how you think those funds should be allocated?