LA libraries replace fines for young readers with in-library "read-offs"

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I’m reading right now.


Oh great, now all these low-caste children are going to grow up thinking reading is worthwhile, as if it was labor. Where did that get us in France in the 1790s?


Adults in my city can do this as well.


Our library just did away with fines for children’s material altogether, which was awfully nice of them. They do bug you about it after a while but no fines unless you lost the book or something.

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I wish we could do this, because usually the kids aren’t the ones at fault with fines; it’s the parents being careless about returning materials, and/or using the kids cards. However, fines and fees are how we afford new materials; our library system gets very little love from the state.


It’s a pretty messed up state of affairs to make the library’s existence depend on the behavior you’re ostensibly hoping to avoid.


My old library in Middleton, WI, did away with overdue fines altogether. They did threaten to charge you replacement fees if the books were overdue for more than month.

I do remember talking to somebody who worked for one of the neighboring Madison library branches who wasn’t terribly happy about it. Both libraries tie into the South Central Library System and used a central catalog so Middleton’s policies had a potential effect on Madison libraries.


Roger that!

My library didn’t even charge me a replacement fee when I dropped the first book of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in the bath. (I didn’t tell them that was how the pages had gotten wet, but I’m sure they knew.)

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Well, that’s just shite. Anyone got a text dump? Quite want to read the article!


Indeed, my wife was a librarian and she complained about the same thing: parents getting their small children library cards, then using them to check out DVDs that they’d never return. Presto, kid effectively doesn’t have a library card anymore. It was a frustrating situation for sure.

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I found a book I checked out in 1988 about Stonehenge recently. Do I:

(i) return it and pay the fine
(ii) donate a couple of books in the same vein but of an updated nature
(iii) (presumably) both


See if Google’s cached link works for you:


I see what you did there.

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Whatever you do, check whether there happens to be an ancient bit of parchment with weird runes in it first.


The library system where my family lives recently did away with all overdue fines across the board. They start sending out warnings after a month to please bring it back soon; after three months, if you haven’t brought it back, you get automatically billed the cost of the book.

The phrase read off sounds like 2 kids, performing the 8 min rap battle scene in 8 Mile. The kid playing Clarence choking up gets a raw deal reading wise.

Sadly, Read offs are not as exciting as my imagination.

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