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Suggestion for impovement

Many times I have checked out a book only to find after getting it home that I am unable to sit down and enjoy reading it because it smells so strongly of perfume or tobacco smoke that I soon develop a headache, stuffy nose, or watery eyes. I would suggest that in addition to your relatively new policy to charge .25 for requested books that are not picked up on time, you also institute a fine for books returned smelling of perfume and or smoke.


Wed, 2014-03-05 17:42

Thank you for your suggestion.

It is one of the joys and also one of the trials of the public library that we share our materials with everyone and allow them to be taken into their homes. We do charge patrons the full replacement cost for items that they return in such poor condition that we determine we cannot circulate it anymore. Items returned with (and this is going to be a bit gross) odors, stains, crumbs, squished bugs, boogers, dog-ears, tick marks, or other minor damage are considered part of the expected wear and tear over the life of the book.

Frankly, a $.25 fine for odors would be impractical for us to enforce and even more difficult to justify. Sniffing books is not part of our checkin process, and assigning "blame" with a $.25 fine to a specific patron for a book that smells is not as cut-and-dried as assessing a $.25 fine for a hold item not picked up. I know if you asked us to hold a book; I know that my staff put time and effort into pulling the book, processing the hold, and holding it for you; I know if you didn't pick it up. But dog-ears may have been made by the 17th patron before you; the tick marks may have been made seven patrons ago; the odor may have seeped in three or four patrons before you.

As a heavy library user myself, I get what you're saying and understand your frustration, and I'm sorry that I'm not able to implement your suggestion.

Eva Davis, Director