Library relieving fines for food donations

By Anna Bolton - [email protected]

GREENE COUNTY — Greene County Public Library is forgiving fines in exchange for canned goods this week.

Library patrons are invited to bring unexpired, nonperishable food items to the circulation desk at their local Greene County Public Library — Beavercreek, Cedarville, Fairborn, Jamestown, Winters-Bellbrook, Xenia or Yellow Springs — until Saturday, Feb. 16.

For each item donated, $1 of that person’s fines for overdue materials will be forgiven.

“We love to have people come into the library and we don’t want fines to be a deterrent,” Ryan Ireland, communications director for the libraries, said. “Having a fine forgiveness program that also gives back to the community matches our mission.”

The donations collected during the week at the seven library locations will be distributed to each community’s food bank. For example, donations from Xenia Library will go to the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry.

“February is usually a time of year when the food pantries are hurting a little more. People tend to think about them during the holiday season, in November and December, and give a lot then,” Ireland explained.

Fines can only be forgiven on overdue materials that have been returned. Patrons unsure if they have fines can log into their online account or ask a library staff member for help. These credits can not be applied toward fees for items that have been lost or damaged.

The program has become so popular over the last ten years that patrons who didn’t have fines still wanted to participate.

“Last year we started to do the ‘pay it forward’ program,” Ireland said. “We’ve had positive results with that.”

Donors can relieve other library-goers’ fines this way.

At the end of the week last year, the library system had collected 2,126 food items.

“Every year they ask if we are going to do it again,” Ireland said, “and we will.”

By Anna Bolton

[email protected]