Libraries That Make Bad Decisions, Part 487


There are times when I think that as a profession we Just Don’t Get It.  We whine about how communities don’t fully appreciate us.  And we have endless conferences and meetings to try to figure out how to get teens to visit and use the library.

And then there’s this.

AUGUST 21–The next time you forget to return a couple of library books (and ignore those annoying letters about the overdue status of said volumes), think of Heidi Dalibor. The Wisconsin woman, 20, was arrested earlier this month in connection with a pair of books overdue for several months. Dalibor, who made the mistake of ignoring a court citation issued after she failed to respond to letters and phone calls from the Grafton library, was busted August 6 for failing to return copies of Janet Fitch’s best-seller “White Oleander” (a 1999 Oprah Book Club selection) and “Angels & Demons,” author Dan Brown’s precursor to “The Da Vinci Code.” According to a police report, Dalibor was apprehended at her family’s home, cuffed and stuffed in a cruiser, and booked for violating the “overdue library materials” ordinance. She also had to pose for the below mug shot at the Grafton Police Department. Dalibor subsequently settled with the library by paying her overdue fines and reimbursing it for the cost of the two novels, which totaled around $180. Dalibor’s mother Patty told TSG that her daughter was “a good kid” who works two jobs. She is also now the owner of the Fitch and Brown books, which Dalibor got to keep as a result of paying off her library levies.

Deep sigh.

Now, I’m not in favor of allowing someone to abscond with library books or neglect to pay a fine.  (I’m not all that in favor of fines in the first place, but that’s probably a different post.)  But to have the person arrested and cuffed?  For TWO BOOKS???

Heidi should have paid attention when she got the numerous notices, blah, blah, blah.  But there has GOT to be a better way to deal with this.

I wonder if that young lady will ever visit a library again.  I doubt I would, in her shoes.  She essentially paid $180 for two books she could have purchased from a local book store for a fraction of the price….and I’m guessing that’s what she’ll do from now on.

And the librarians will attend yet another meeting to determine how to get patrons to darken their doors.



Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

3 responses to “Libraries That Make Bad Decisions, Part 487

  1. Cara

    Wow, that’s really a shame. You make a great point, though. For all the times patrons have jokingly asked if the “library police” were going to come after them for their ten cent fine, I can’t believe this actually happened. Talk about going to extremes!

  2. DBF

    Two things:
    First, the young lady was actually arrested for failing to appear in court. She ignored various notices and a summons, and when she continued to ignore, a bench warrent was issued. This is her own dumb fault.

    Having said that, however, consider that on a Milwaukee radio show, one woman, a local business woman (someone you know personally, Mary Beth), called in to say that when her young son lost a book on snakes, she offered to pay to replace it. Instead, the library charged her with theft of library materials, and she now has a CRIMINAL RECORD.

    Only this past week, I was thinking I really ought to go back to the library instead of spending so much at Amazon. However, I am pretty bad at returning books on time, which is why I stopped going in the first place. I read some books in a day, and others over a period of weeks, and the hassle of checking out and re-checking had been one step too far in my over-committed life. In any case, this story made me realize that it’s not worth it. I will continue to buy. I will also stop donating to the local library after having heard the story about the business woman.

    In both cases, I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

  3. Pingback: Libraries That Make Bad Decisions, Part Bazillionty One. « Impromptu Librarian

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