|County library panel may boost overdue book fines
It’s not exactly startling news, but the costs of paying fines on overdue books will probably go up a nickel. Books are usually borrowed for 21 days, and the overdue fine could be increased to 25 cents a day.
It could be worse for DVDs, which have a seven-day keep-at-home period. There’s talk of increasing overdue DVDs from 25 cents to a dollar a day per item.
These are just two of the Sonoma County Library Commission agenda when it meets in Sebastopol, Monday, Aug. 6.
They’ll also be discussing the continuing problem of putting books on hold for later pickup. If a Rohnert Park library user wants a certain book but the nearest copy is in Healdsburg or Cloverdale, an order has to be placed and the book trucked on down to RP.
If the user fails to pick it up within certain time frame, it sits on a library shelf and no one else can borrow it. Fines accumulate. This happened about 82,000 times last year out of 800,000 requests.
The commission’s main burden is a looming $500,000 budget deficit. They have a list of recommendations to raise funds totaling a possible $300,000.
Increases in fines are intended to “educate the public” in the realities of library usage, said commission chairwoman Julia Freis. If the user has to pay $10 in fines they still have library privileges, but the commission may lower this to $5 and if not paid, they lose their library privileges.
RP Library Branch Manager Nancy Kleban plans to attend the commission’s meeting.