by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our overdue notices are going green. Pioneerland Library System will stop sending out paper overdue notices in May, changing to all email for notices about overdues. This will save reams of paper and thousands of dollars a year. Trees and taxpayer dollars: worthy causes, don’t you think?
The great news is that this will allow us to send email reminders before your items are due. You’ll be able to get a reminder to return things before you owe any fines. Patrons have been asking for this service.
If you have an email address on file with us, you will still get an email notice when you owe money on an item, as you do now. You’ll also get notified by email of any items you’ve requested that have come in for you.
If you don’t have an email address in your library record, you will only get a printed overdue notice mailed to you when your item is long overdue and you’re being billed for replacing it: after eight days on a movie and after thirty days on a book. We will still call you when your requested items arrive at the library.
Even if you get a huge bill for the cost of replacing a book or other item, your fines will be greatly reduced once you bring it back. For a book, you may get a bill for as much as $40 to replace it, but once you bring it back you’ll only owe $3 for it in late fees. For a long-overdue movie, your bill will drop to $8, much better than the $38 your bill will say while you still have it checked out. If you get a scary bill, the best thing to do is just return the item to reduce your fine. If for some reason it’s gone, talk to us about it. We won’t yell at you, I promise. We just want to work out a way to get that item back in our library for other people to check out.
If you’re thinking, “I have an email address but I don’t like to give it out because then I get spam,” let me reassure you that we will never share your email address. By law, we cannot. So you will never get business emails because we sold your email address, because we absolutely will never do that. We protect your privacy.
We don’t send marketing emails about the library, either. The only emails you’ll get from us are reminders that your items will be due soon (beginning in May), overdue notices, and notices that your requested items have arrived. On rare occasions, we send an individual email about a missing disc in a CD set or some other problem, but that’s mostly if we can’t reach you by phone.
I invite you to add your email address to your account the next time you check things out. We won’t share it with anyone or bury you in emails. Starting in May, we’ll be able to remind you to bring your books back before they cost you anything. And you’ll be able to keep getting overdue notices when those due dates slip by, before a bill arrives in your mailbox.
And if you do get a late fee? As Jan says, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means you’re a busy person.