I haven’t written much about library fines on this site (the last real time was 2010 and that feels like a lifetime ago) and in general I’ve stayed out of the fine free debate (it’s great for those that can do, it’s tough for some smaller libraries and conservative communities). The only thing I really know about them these days is that libraries have got to figure out a way to handle them in the future. With some libraries going fine free while some resist the idea all together and some just can’t get there, I think a good future would be one in which we presented a solid vision.
In the meantime the only thing that I can do is create positive change in the little part of the world where I live, so with that we’re going to try something for the second year in a row at the Benson Memorial Library. We call it FOOD FOR FINES and the idea is simple: anyone can bring in a canned good or food item in the month of July and for each item we’ll deduct $1 from your fines or if you want we’ll deduct it from someone else’s card. At the end of the month, we’ll take the canned goods and food items we’ve accumulated and deliver them to the Titusville Food Bank where they’ll be put to good use helping out members of our community who need it the most.
This idea isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it jives with something that I’ve been believing a lot over the past few months: that we as individuals have the power to shape the world in a good way with a positive mindset. Food For Fines at the Benson Memorial Library is a small yet effective way to have a positive impact on our community. Not only can we use this program to get people back into the library and get them the resources they need, but we can also help out the community by giving them access to canned goods and food items they may need through the food bank. I want to live in a world where we all share and support each other. This is one step towards that.
I was really happy that the Titusville Herald reached out to us and did a story on Food For Fines at the Benson Memorial Library. I think having the media cover this brings this program to more people and also shows that we are a community focused organization who is there to promote kindness, sharing, and togetherness for everyone. I’m also super thankful the reporter grabbed this quote from me: “We’re in the kindness business”. For me, that’s the reason we’re here.