We have a firm fines policy that no one in a family may check anything out if even one member of the family has fines in excess of $10--it sounds strict, but we find that we only have problems with families that wind up being the ones who run up multiple cards, so it works. Today we got one of those really special patron phone calls that had us all cracking up. It went something like this:
Patron: "I know that I have fines on my card, but my daughter keeps begging me to go to the library and check out some books for her to read."
*After checking the patrons card, her sons card, and the daughters card it was discovered that the mother and sons fines totaled over $300, while the daughters fine were only just over $10. After being informed of this, the patron asks,
Patron: "So, can I just pay off my daughter's fines so she can use her card."
*The staff again reiterated our policy about family fines, etc.
Patron: "Well, every time I came to the library to turn in my books you were closed."
Staff member explains about the drop box on the side of the building.
Patron: "Well, I had boxed all the books up and set them in my garage and was saving them to return them when you did a Fines Free day." (A yearly event we do for Natl. Library Week in April in which we wipe away fines of $5 or less in exchange for canned goods for our local food pantry).
Staff member explained that we only take of fines of $5 or less in exchange for canned goods, that there would be no way we would wipe off fines of their magnitude.
Patron: "Well, I was going to bring the books back, but my husband didn't ask me and cleaned the garage and burned the boxes of books."
Staff then had to explain AGAIN that all the fines AND replacement costs would have to be paid off before any of the cards can again be used at our library.
Patron agreed to try and slowly start paying off fines.
This is real, folks.