St. Cloud, MN, April 2014: Following the success of Read Down Your Fines weeks in 2013, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) will repeat the effort April 14-19 in recognition of National Library Week.
During Read Down Your Fines week, teens and juveniles who have accumulated fines on their library accounts may read at the library to reduce the amount they owe. Fifteen minutes of reading wipes out $1 in fines. The first Read Down Your Fines week took place in June 2013, when 173 minor cardholders took part. Another 145 took part during a second Read Down Your Fines week in October.
Library staff like to see a busy children’s area and teen space. They believe it is in the best interest of all young people that they be able to take full advantage of library services. Read Down Your Fines provides a measure of compromise and forgiveness for those who have not always been able to return materials promptly for the use of others.
“Young people aren’t always to blame when items are returned late,” said Beth Ringsmuth Stolpman, Patron Services Specialist. “Sometimes another family member checks out materials on their card, and sometimes they don’t have transportation available to get to the library. Even if they have been forgetful or irresponsible, they’re kids and we need to remember that.” Read Down Your Fines is only available to those 16 and younger, and it only applies to fines accumulated for late returns, not to charges for lost or damaged materials.
Individuals who want to take advantage of Read Down Your Fines can speak to staff at their library. In the case of very young children with fines on their cards, parents may read down the child’s fines by reading to them in the library. The program is supported by public donations and will be available at all 32 GRRL locations. Young people who want to take part should speak with library staff as local procedures may vary. Individuals who wish to donate to Read Down Your Fines may do so through the library’s website, griver.org/support-the-library.
GRRL provides library services at 32 public libraries in Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright Counties. It provides Central Minnesota residents with nearly 1 million books, CDs and DVDs, 250 public computers, programming and information services.