• “Read down your fine” at the library

    Date: 08.19.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Although many libraries depend on fines for late books to help with their bills, some are considering the economy and the purpose of a public library. Not all families have Internet at home or the ability to buy books for their kids. The public library is about reading, not making money.

    At the New York Public Library, once a borrower has $15.00 in unpaid fines they can’t check out anymore books until the fines are paid. There are approximately 143,000 people on the current list of offenders. However, instead of keeping young people away from the library out of embarrassment over the money owed, the library has started a “Read down your fine” program. For every 15 minutes spent reading, the library reduces the fine by $1.00. The reader isn’t monitored either. Trust is the name of the game.

    New York Public Library (Luis Villa - Flickr)

    An estimate of $2 million in fines may be written off the books by the end of the amnesty program on September 9, 2011. The Library has one former patron they don’t expect to see or hear from. In 1789, George Washington checked out two books: “Law of Nations” and Volume 12 of “Common Debates.” They were never returned and the fines are now approximately $300,000. Although the fine will remain unpaid, the library would like the books returned.

    So, recognizing the need for libraries to remain open to the public, do your part in returning them when due. If late, pay the fine and consider it a donation to the existence of the library.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Fri, 19 Aug 2011 at 07:19

      @nypl Check out our blog post about your Read Down Your Fine program. http://t.co/u3z4Nhw

    • Tulsa Divorce Lawyer
      Sat, 20 Aug 2011 at 08:59

      I think that’s a very creative idea. It will be interesting to read how effective it is.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>