Volunteer to Remove Fines

Are you aware of how or if your teens are using the library?

I’ve noticed a trend in public libraries that allows individuals to volunteer time to work off their fines. What an amazing proposition that is! I can imagine all of the fined individuals shelving books, helping with storytime, dusting, etc. and I see a great place – a world where everyone is pitching in to help out with their local library. Not only that, I picture a place where library staff can learn from teens. Maybe teens could benefit by teaching library staff how to use technology? Or how the teens themselves use technology? Cool, huh?

Here is one at the Neenah Public Library in Wisconsin: http://www.neenahlibrary.org/About/volunteer.html

An article from the Evanston Daily: http://evanstonnow.com/aggregationitem/education/evanston-review/2010-04-21/library-gives-teens-a-break-on-fines

And, unfortunately, here is an article about how late fees stopped a teen from coming to the library: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6410502.html

“That’s why I wasn’t surprised when the Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library surveyed their young patrons and discovered that 41 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds said their library cards were blocked due to overdue materials. These kids weren’t using the library because they couldn’t afford it.”

Lastly, here’s a link to a Texas library doing this: http://texascity-library.org/LibNews/LibNew7-10.pdf

Teens can choose to use their volunteer hours to gain community service credit for school honor societies or college applications, or they can use the volunteer hours to “work off” their library fines. Every 15 minutes spent listening to a child read will take off $3.00 in library fines. Volunteers working toward service credits will receive a letter from the library documenting their time. A brief orientation is required to participate.”