Don’t be a stranger. You’re off the hook in April.
That’s the message from the Northumberland Public Library to its patrons who have overdue books. An April amnesty has been declared for fines on books and other library materials that haven’t been returned by their due date.
According to Library Director Alice Cooper, the general amnesty on fines runs through the end of the month. Library materials returned by April 30 will have their fines forgiven, no matter how long they have been overdue. One past April amnesty saw the return of a book that had been overdue for several years. Despite that extremely long overdue period, the fine was forgiven when the patron returned the book.
“The Northumberland Public Library is a free resource for all of our citizens,” Cooper said. “Forgiving fines past and present removes a barrier for some to using the library. And returning long-overdue items to the library shelves makes them available once again for everybody.”
Unpaid outstanding fines – which can happen if an overdue book was dropped off but the fine was not paid when the item was returned – also are part of the April amnesty. Cooper said patrons who fall in that category simply need to visit the library by April 30, tell the clerk at the checkout desk about the outstanding fines and request they be voided. Under current library policy, any patron who has outstanding fines of $5.00 or more is not permitted to use one of the library’s computers, so this is a significant benefit.
While fines are forgiven, loss or damage still carries a price. Cooper noted that patrons still must pay for books or other library materials that have been lost or damaged.