by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Kids will have an opportunity again this summer to read down their late fees. We tried this program last June and people have been requesting it ever since. The Friends of the Litchfield Public Library are on board to help sponsor the program again. This year we will offer it from June 1 through June 15.
Here’s how it works: Children and teens under age 18 can sign in at the desk, read in the children’s department, and come back to the desk to record the time they finish. For every fifteen minutes spent reading in the library, $1 will be taken off of the fines on that child’s card.
There’s no limit on the dollar amount of late fees that can be cleared this way, but it can’t be applied to lost or damaged items or lost library cards. Another limitation is that kids can’t read down their parents’ fines this way, only their own. And the program isn’t open to adults. Sorry, grownups.
Can’t read yet? No problem. Young kids can read down their fines by being read to by a parent, babysitter, or older sibling, as long as they’re in the library.
So what do you do if you have a book or movie at home that you know is long overdue? Bring it back to the library between now and June 15, and then spend 45 minutes doing the fines read-down. Even if you’ve gotten a big bill to replace a book or movie, the fine will drop to $3 once it’s returned. Of course, you have the option to pay the fine, too, rather than spending that time in the library, but for this short time a child would have a way to take care of it without having to come up with any money.
The Friends of the Library do all kinds of great things for the library. If you drive by while the monthly book sale is on, you’ll now see a sign out by the street that says “book sale,” which the Friends just bought. We hope this new acquisition will help you remember that the sale is happening. I can’t tell you how many people come in to the library during a book sale and say, “Oh, I didn’t know this was happening!” The sale happens on the third Saturday of every month from 10-2 in the meeting room. The exception is in July, when the sale is moved to the Saturday of Watercade.
The Friends run the book sale, with cashiering assistance from the Litchfield Women’s Study Club. Members of the Friends sort the donations, set up the carts in a well-organized way, and take it all down when it’s done. They also put things out on the cart of free books near the magazine exchange, and they send some things to Better World Books that can make the group some money, which they use to benefit the library.
One of the things they spend their funds on is “Book Page,” the monthly book review magazine you see at the library’s front desk. It’s very popular, because it’s an appealing magazine full of suggestions of books to read. Every avid reader needs ideas! We get a box of copies of this publication every month, so you can take one home with you.
The Friends have also paid for some great new books that we’ll be giving away as prizes for summer reading, and they help to fund things like storytime and summer reading crafts, books for Beginners’ Book Club, and prizes for the adult winter reading program. And, like I mentioned at the beginning, they are helping to fund the Fines Read-down in June.
Good libraries need good Friends, and we have a wonderful group. If you’re interested in joining them, pick up a brochure at the library’s front desk for more information. Thank you to the Friends for all of their work and support!