Friday, January 1, 2010

Fine Forgiveness on a Large Scale

Link to January 1 SFGate article, "Clark County clears $1M in library fines".

Excerpt: Clark County library officials say it's the cost of doing business.

This year, the library district wrote off more than $918,000 in uncollectable fines and fees from the district's books. With more than 13 million items in circulation each year, officials said there is bound to be some loss.

"It's a number that takes your breath away, but you have to put it in context," said executive director Jeanne Goodrich.

Since 2000, the district has used a collection agency to try to cut down on losses. During that time, the collection agency has recovered $4.6 million in items and an additional $3.48 million in fines.

Unique Management Services Inc., of Jeffersonville, Ind., specializes in working with libraries and charges fees based on the amount of people "sent to collections," said Robb Morss, deputy library director and chief operating officer.

"We're doing a bit better than breaking even," Morss said.

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