In the tradition of the library that charged a dead woman’s family for her overdue fees, and the library that had a woman arrested for having for overdue books, there’s this story:
An Independence woman was arrested on theft charges Thursday for failing to return a library book.
Shelly J. Koontz, 39, was arrested just after 8 p.m. at her residence after a warrant had been issued. She was originally charged with fifth-degree theft for keeping “The Freedom Writers Diary,” which she checked out from the Jesup Public Library in April 2008.
Jesup Police Chief Rick Deitrick said the book was valued at $13.95.
“Theft is theft, no matter what it is,” Deitrick said.
So, we’re worried about whether our funding authorities will consider us worthy of keeping around, and worried whether our constituents will continue to visit us and avail themselves of our services…..and then we’re going to throw the book at someone for $14.00? Is it just me, or is that incredibly stupid? Penny-wise and pound-foolish? Really, really bad P.R.?
And why would this woman – or anyone else in this area – continue to visit the library when they can be arrested for a library book? Isn’t there a way to solve this short of criminal charges? Because otherwise, I’m heading to the local bookstore and not the library.
Bad, bad, bad.