In the never ending saga of Libraries That Make Awful Decisions, there comes the story of the Harrison Public Library in New York.
Even the dead apparently have to pay the fines on their overdue books at one Westchester County library. Elizabeth Schaper said she was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that her late mother had checked out of a Harrison Public Library branch.”I was in shock,” Schaper said. “This has rocked me to my core.”
Schaper’s mother, Ethel Schaper, died at the age of 87 on Sept. 16 after suffering a massive stroke. A few days later, Schaper said she found a library book, “The Price of Silence,” by Camilla Trinchieri, that her mother had checked out from the library.
“My mother was an avid reader _ she read an average of two books a week,” Schaper said. “She was a frequent patron of the library.”
Schaper said she returned the book last week, and was stunned when the man behind the library counter told her of the 50-cent fee.
“I told him that maybe he didn’t hear me right, that my mother had just died, otherwise I’m sure that she would have returned it on time,” Schaper said. “His only reply was that, ’That will be 50 cents.’”
Connie Perrotta, a secretary for the director of the Harrison Public Library, confirmed the incident occurred but said that the library would have no comment.
Schaper said a couple days after the incident another library employee called to apologize and offered to return the fine she had paid.
OK. Kudos to the library for refunding the fine…..but I’m afraid the damage was done. And the story has hit the AP wires, which means everyone and their brother know about the incident. I sincerely hope that this is not business as usual at this – or any – library.
In contrast, a number of communities in my area of the state were recently hit with torrential rains – over 17 inches in some areas. The libraries in those communities were relatively unscathed, but many people lost their homes. Some of those people actually went to the library to report that the library books that they had checked out were lost along with all of their possessions. The library’s response was to forgive the fines and replacement fees. The librarian figured that these folks had enough to deal with. Worrying about reimbursing the library didn’t need to be on the list.
Now…..which library has endeared itself to the community? Which library’s bond issue will be passed, when the time comes?