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Arrested for $30 in Library Fines

Sorry, librarians, but this is funny.
Sorry, librarians, but this is funny.

Image found here.

Soo…in trolling my usual blogs, I came across this story. Here’s an excerpt:

The Grafton Library had sent two notices and made two phone calls to Dalibor to retrieve the two books she had taken out. Dalibor simply failed to respond.

So the library turned the case over to local police, who notified Dalibor by mail that she would either have to pay a $171 fine or appear in court. Dalibor said she intended to go to court, but got stuck at work. She said she went to the police station after work to plead her case, but was told there was nothing she or the police could do.

So, on Aug. 6, Dalibor woke up to find a police officer walking around the side of her house and into the backyard. At the front door was another officer bearing a warrant for her arrest.

(The fines totalled $30, by the way.) My first reaction was, Really? That’s what we’re arresting people for these days? Then why can’t we arrest that guy who always drives like a jack ass? Or the guy who parks 20 cars around his house, most of which have expired registration?

But then, THEN, the part of me obsessed with obeying the laws and giving the evil eye to other people who don’t was like, YES! THAT’S WHAT YOU GET, BIOTCH! Let’s see if you ever don’t pay your library fines again!!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!

Rules are here for a reason, people. Except speed laws. Those are dumb. And laws that make it so we can’t have sparklers on the Fourth of July. Because no matter whether you believe in evolution or creation, we all believe in WEEDING OUT THE GENE POOL.

Now I don’t know what to think. On the one hand, this totally satisfies my innate desire to see people get the punishment they deserve for not paying overdue fines. On the other hand…jail? Really? I mean, it was easy, just call the cops, they send a notice…but really? Jail for LIBRARY FINES?

I don’t know. What do you think? What are the voices in your head telling you?*

*This is not to say I have voices in MY head…I’m just saying, IF you DO have those voices, I’d like to hear them now. Maybe we could set up a play date with the voices in MY head. IF I had those voices…THEN we might hang out.

Edited to add: Rebekah makes a good point, which I failed to put in my post, though if you read the news story it’s clear: this woman was jailed for ignoring a court order, not for failing to pay her fines. BUT, the court order was because  she didn’t pay her fines. Capiche?

| Tags: , , 17 comments »

17 Responses to “Arrested for $30 in Library Fines”

  1. Debbie Nance

    Love, love, love your post!

    [Reply]

  2. Kim L

    But did you here about this grandmother?.

    Ummm…. cause the right way to protest something you find is offensive is to steal.

    [Reply]

  3. Melody

    Wow, that’s real…unbelievable!

    [Reply]

  4. Joanne

    I think that is pretty crazy, it seems to me that library fines would be handled the same way as overdue bills, unpaid credit cards – they send a couple letters, then they send it to a collection agency.

    I’m sure glad my library doesn’t go that far with fines. Just last week I paid off $211 in overdue fines – but I was happy to do that because 1) I broke the rules and should pay the price and 2) the money from fines goes directly into the new acquisitions fund that buys new books. So in a sense I got punished but also rewarded.

    [Reply]

  5. Becky

    My voices are totally telling me to eat more donuts.

    [Reply]

  6. mellymel

    I saw it on the “news” and think it’s a bit nuts. Surely there is some way to collect fines other than jail time (like attaching it to your driver’s license renewal or your property tax bill or something).

    I prefer to call my fines “rental fees”. And I have no problem paying them. I save a ton of money “renting” them and love my library. Bring it on, without the handcuffs please.

    [Reply]

  7. Ladytink_534

    I saw this not too long ago. Someone was trying to say it was a hoax because the girl looked way too happy in her mugshot lol.

    When I was in high school people who had over due books weren’t able to walk across the stage and recieve their “diploma” at graduation.

    [Reply]

  8. Rebekah

    Ooh, this was a hot button issue on my library school listserv. I agree that this was ridiculous, but I just want to point out that she was jailed for ignoring a court order, not for failing to pay fines.

    [Reply]

  9. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    This one sort of startled me. Why not just return the library copies and buy the two books? It would have been a heck of a lot cheaper!! And, as I read it, she was paying legal fines not the library fees. So, when she said she was going to go ahead and keep the books, she was admitting that she was still going to go right on ahead and steal them, right? Weird.

    [Reply]

  10. donstuff

    Funny!
    However, since it was in The Onion, you know it had to be exaggerated and satirical.
    And… “typical librarian?” – Hey Trish, smart girls are cute, you know that!

    [Reply]

  11. Jessica

    Such an odd story. SHe should have just paid the fines in the first place. Put to be arrested is a bit much.

    [Reply]

  12. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    That is hilarious. Do these police have nothing better to do? have they cleaned up the streets? are people no longer being shot in broad daylight over their nikes?

    Wow, I must have been in a cave given that our police have nothing better to do than arrest people for library fines.

    I think this poor person should have had their debt sent to the collection agencies…isn’t that what the credit card companies do?

    Although are they likening this overdue thing to shoplifting, which would carry a fine or jail time? Perhaps they are, but is it shoplifting when you know who took the book and how long ago and where they live?

    [Reply]

  13. Tracie

    I think it’s totally out of control for them to be arresting someone for not paying library fines – esp. since half the time when they charge me fines I returned the book on time! I usually just pay up, since the library is such an amazing deal. But still!

    I do, however, think it is really important for people to return their library books. It’s like all these people running red lights now. All of these civilized systems only work if people do them, and it’s on the honor system – so we need to all be honorable or we won’t have good libraries anymore. And we’ll have even more laws to worry about!

    [Reply]

  14. Quello

    The voices in my head are telling me that it’s important for people to return their library books.

    But see…now it all makes sense. If we let those crazy bookworms loose in the streets, where will the murderers and pedophiles wander?

    [Reply]

  15. Literate Housewife

    This is so going to happen to me someday…

    [Reply]

  16. Jeane

    I saw this story over at Book Chase. Pretty ridiculous. I know a lot of libraries now send it to collection agency if you don’t pay outrageous fines- and when I first heard about that I was shocked! But jail? Aren’t there more important things to do with that resource?

    [Reply]

  17. Ti

    Well when you think about how little public libraries have in the way of funds.. it is reasonable for her to be fined heavily for not paying, but not jail time. It’s her own darn fault for missing the court date though. I mean.. come on.

    [Reply]

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