A library in Alabama has reportedly warned its customers that it plans to enforce strict new borrowing rules that include the possibility of jail time for anyone who fails to return a book on time.
In an effort to recoup about $200,000 worth of overdue books, the Athens-Limestone public library will be enforcing a new policy that includes fines of $100, a city jail term of 30 days or possibly both, according to the News Courier.
Library director Paula Laurita said the harsh new rules were necessary because offenders were effectively stealing from the library and taxpayers.
“Sometimes we hear, ‘I lent my library card to my cousin,’” Laurita said. “I just want to ask, ‘Would you lend your cousin your credit card? If they go and get $700 worth of clothing and you’re responsible for the bill, would you do that?’”
Library customers can end up owing large sums to the library because they are able to take out up to 25 books at a time, which could have a retail value of $25 each.
Anyone with overdue books will have the chance to return them before the authorities are notified.
The library will first notify borrowers with overdue books via text or email. If that is ignored, a certified letter will be sent, warning they have 10 days to hand in their books and pay any fines owed.
If that letter is not acted on, a court summons will be issued, WAAY 31 reported. Ignoring the court summons could result in another fine and jail time.
Laurita said children would not be targeted by the policy.