State seeks to collect millions of dollars in fees from overdue library books

Local News

Debbie Kunze is an avid reader, but when she can’t find the book she wants to read, it can be frustrating.

“A lot of us can’t feed our habits and we are avid readers and you know its for everybody and people shouldn’t keep them,” said Kunze.

But a lot of people have been keeping the books, leading to a large amount of late fees.

“I think the last time we checked it was $3.2 million,” said Keith Fujio with the State Public Library System.

A staggering amount, considering the late fee for an overdue book is 25 cents each day.

“Three million dollars worth of books out?” said Kunze. “That is unbelievable.”

“Any overdue patron accounts with balances of $30 or more will be submitted to the collection agency after they are 90 days overdue,” said Fujio.

Each week, they send about 400 notices to collection agencies.

Library officials are also looking to pay more than $96,000 to a company that will send electronic notifications and postcards notifying people when they are delinquent.

“When the state was doing it, it was more expensive because of postage and the work staff cost because of increasing postage and printing documents so they have been saving us money believe it or not,” said Fujio.

Fujio says in the past the library has not been consistent in collecting the fees, but now hope to get back on track by cleaning up the delinquent accounts.

“There are a lot of patrons that have either moved, are deceased, gone bankrupt and those are still in the balances,” said Fujio. “So we know for a fact that a big chunk is never going to be collected we are just trying to clean it up now.”

Officials say the accounts have been adding up over the last 20 years.

Unpaid late fees can eventually hurt your credit score.

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