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“Fine Free Month” in Plattsmouth Library

Have you been looking for either of these books recently at the library?  These are two of the most popular titles this summer nationwide and here in Plattsmouth.  Both of these titles had hold lists before we even received our copies of the books.  And, “Breaking Dawn”, by Stephanie Meyer still has 8 patrons on the list waiting for their chance to read the end of this love story between a vampire and mortal girl.

Can you imagine the patron’s disappointment if the book is checked out and never returned?  Or if it is “anonymously” returned damaged beyond repair or simply walks out of the building without being checked out. 

Unfortunately, this situation happens more often than it should. The cost to the library patrons for these losses is staggering not only financially but in frustration to the patrons who could have enjoyed these materials.  There is also staff time used in the process of trying to track down the materials, contacting patrons, or having to reorder materials for the collection.  Re-ordering also means loss of funds that could have been used for additional materials instead of replacing items already purchased.  A prime example of this scenario is the popular Disney Channel movie, “High School Musical 2”.  This DVD became available in the library in February, 2008 and by April, 2008 had been checked out and has still not been returned.  How many of our younger patrons would have checked this movie out and enjoyed it-it had already checked out 8 times previous to that. 

Our current list of lost and missing articles just in the movie/cd collection in the adult section totals over 300 items.  The fiction and non fiction books also number in the hundreds.  The dollar amounts these materials represent are a reminder of the fact that this is tax dollar money not being used.

The library staff is addressing this issue now more than ever due to the national economy crisis and tightening of purse strings everywhere. Ms. Evis Zamora, staff member, has been focused on following up with patrons in a more timely fashion to help them get the items back before fines are assessed.  Calling patrons and sending letters are two methods we use to remind customers of when their materials are due.

Fortunately, there has also been some technological advancement that is helping library staff with this process.  Our library computer software is programmed to send “gentle reminder” emails before the actual due date to assist people in being successful in returning materials.

As part of this process, the library staff has been ensuring that everyone’s accounts are up to date, especially in collecting email addresses.  Using an email address for notifications saves postage, needless phone calls, and staff time.  As with other patron information, your email address is kept confidential and not given out to any other sources. 

The following paragraph is from the Plattsmouth Public Library policy manual and explains the patron’s responsibility when borrowing items from the library.

“I agree to be responsible for all items borrowed with the library card issued in the above name, including items borrowed with it by others with or without my consent unless I have previously reported the loss of my card. I promise to comply with all library rules and policies both present and future, and to give prompt notice of change of address or loss of library card."

September is “National Library Card Sign Up Month” through the American Library Association.  To celebrate this idea, the library staff is very excited to announce that there will be a “Fine Free Month” for September.
We are offering any patrons with ANY overdue items the opportunity to bring them back any day in September with ALL fines being waived.  We feel it is just as important for current cardholders to be able to use their cards as it is to sign up new patrons. 

Please call the library at 296-4154 if you have any questions about this offer or for more information.  We are looking forward to a successful month restoring patrons accounts to a good status!