Way overdue

Dear Paige: Unfortunately, your timing could not be less perfect. The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library did indeed sponsor an amnesty week for massively delinquent borrowers—unfortunately for you, it ran from April 2 to April 8, so it’s now nothing but a memory. On the plus side, however, the JMRL has always had a very reasonable cap of $5 on overdue book fines, so—as long as your Grisham tome remains in good condition—it will only cost you a five-spot to clear your conscience once and for all. In an odd way, it’s rather lucky for you that the book is so horribly overdue—as Library Director John Halliday graciously informed us, the library recently began contracting with an outside agency to help recover lost materials, which adds an additional $10 to the fine. But that fee is only assessed to books that have gone missing since the collections program began (about two years ago). Since you’ve had your legal thriller for nearly a decade now, that extra charge won’t apply. (See, sometimes crime does pay!)
    As for where all those fines end up, Halliday was pleased to tell us. “People should be very happy to know that all of the fines are put into the Library’s equipment fund,” he says. “Many of our computers, copy machines and printers were purchased with overdue fine money.” He also informed us that, amazingly, “all of those 10-cent fines add up to $150,000 per year.”
    So return that potboiler, Paige! You’ll feel better about yourself, and help out the library in the process. And rest assured, your next due date won’t be so easily forgotten. “We’ve added electronic notification,” Halliday points out, “so now people get e-mail two days before their books are due.”

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