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.
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.