Okay, readers, who out there owes their local library a dollar or two in overdue fees? Come on…you know you returned the latest James Patterson novel a day late. And that Finding Nemo DVD the kiddos wanted to watch one last time before you returned it…two days late?

You, my friends, are in luck! The Beaver County Library System runs a program each year that benefits not only you, but the libraries and our local Salvation Army as well. Food for Fines, running November 30 through December 12 this year, gives patrons the opportunity to donate food items in exchange for waived fines.

The Breakdown on Library Fines

I had the chance to speak with Jodi Oliver, Director of the Beaver County Library System, about Food for Fines and the impact this can have on all who participate. Jodi, who has been with our library system for 21 years, gave me the breakdown on late fees.

Fees begin at 20 cents a day per item. There is a $10 maximum fine per returned item, and the fine for not returning an item at all is the cost of replacement plus a processing fee. As Jodi explained, some patrons can have over $100 in outstanding fines.

With nine local libraries, and two branches, you can see how those late fees can add up to a significant amount of money. Fines collected from patrons are generally used to purchase new books, audio books, and DVDs, so recouping these fines, not to mention the returned material, is important for all of us!


The Food for Fines Program

Food for Fines has been operating for several years throughout the library system. Patrons are encouraged to donate food items at their local libraries, and their late fees will be waived. Donations are then taken to the Salvation Army, a much needed contribution this time of year.

The libraries will be accepting only nonperishable food – and please be sure it hasn’t expired! Most locations will be waiving $1 for each item donated, with no maximum on the amount of fines that can be waived.

You don’t have to have late fees to donate – all contributions are gratefully welcomed. All libraries in the Beaver County Library System are participating, as well as the CCBC Library.

Giving Back to Our Communities

Many libraries across the country have implemented events like Food for Fines, and this is just one of a number of programs offered by the Beaver County Library System that benefits members of the county. As Jodi said, “We saw a need to give back to the communities we serve.”

With your help, that is precisely what they are doing. Please consider making a donation at your local library this year during Food for Fines, November 30th through December 12th. You get your late fees wiped out! The libraries get their materials back! The Salvation Army receives donations to distribute to families in need! It’s a win-win-win, folks.

If you need further information about your local library, please visit the Beaver County Library System website. Questions regarding Food for Fines can be directed to your local library; staff members will be able to assist. You can also call System Headquarters at 724-378-6227, extension 301.