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Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Fine Time: San Francisco Library Offering Amnesty Next Month

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM

In many ways, the public library system is one of the only concrete examples of man's capacity to exhibit good will. Things are borrowed for free and taken home where they become susceptible to weather, spilled coffee, purse snatchers, naughty children and countless other perils. Yet, somehow, inexplicably, the vast majority of users manage to treat their borrowed goods with care and return them intact, often at the deadline proscribed.

And then there are those who don't.

For those of you for whom an overdue copy of Poe's stories beat like the telltale heart under the floorboards, the San Francisco Public Library  takes pity this May. The library will be offering amnesty from the dates of May third to 16th. This means that overdue materials can be returned, no questions asked, and late fees will be forgiven. The event is being promoted with videos of people like comic Marga Gomez (pictured here) relaying their excuses for being tardy.

The library has done this before, with great success. During 2001, more than 5,000 items were returned worth over $100,000, including a book that became overdue in 1931 and two pamphlets of sheet music checkout out in 1962.

Fine amnesty is not new concept. Several library systems throughout the

U.S. have offered amnesty at one time or another, often in celebration

of National Library Week, which is sponsored by the American Library

Association and takes place in April every year. This year's spate of

fine amnesty events have been colored by the recession. The Detroit Public Library system's "Stimulus Package" is intended to " the Detroit community cope with the severe

economic crisis by restoring library privileges to people

not using the Library because they owe for materials past

their due date."

So, really. Bring back that Buffy the Vampire Season Three final disc. Somebody wants to know how it ends.

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Andy Wright


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