I pondered the letter from Stacey Burkart, the director of the library, about how eliminating library fines makes better service for everyone. With all due respect for her thoughts and expertise, I question the logic behind two of her statements.
The first argument is that we shouldn’t keep on doing something because it has always been done that way. The second is that there is a fine-free movement gaining momentum In libraries across the country, therefore we should join it.
I think those two arguments directly oppose one another. I agree we need to look at why we are doing something and make a clear decision about moving forward. I also believe that personal responsibility about borrowing public property and returning it should be taken into consideration, and furthermore, what are we teaching children about responsibility?
Is it better for “everyone” when an individual must wait for a popular book to be returned because libraries don’t want to nickel-and-dime late books? I contend both of these issues are being ignored.
The next statement about climbing aboard the movement because that’s what other libraries are doing is the same as we should keep doing something that has always been done that way. ” Yes, we apparently do not need the money from overdue books for operating expenses, but what about teaching personal responsibility?
How do parents teach responsibility when the community makes it easy to shirk it? I am very happy that libraries are not “dusty, quiet places” but I feel it is a bit judgmental to single out anyone wearing glasses on a chain around their neck.
How does that support the point of making libraries better for everyone? It seems to have little to do with the major premise.
I am all for making the library a progressive institution, but not by using supporting arguments like “because that is the momentum and we don’t need the money.”
Books are public property and should be enjoyed by all. Children should be expected to be responsible by their parents and the greater community. Not doing so is one more way for individuals to view responsibility as unimportant and that spills over into future attitudes.
City of Verona