In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed – The New York Times

Source: In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed – The New York Times

The library, owed $6.8 million in fees for overdue and lost items, prohibits children who can’t pay but need the library the most from borrowing materials or using its computers.

Definitely a concern in both public librarianship and school librarianship: how do we ensure the safe return of materials, yet not penalize those who need the resources and services of the library the most?  Sadly, if a person could afford a $10 book, they would likely just purchase it and avoid the possibility of being sent to collections for late/lost fees.  Likely, those who can’t afford either will just forego the luxury of books, and the joys of life long learning.

In school libraries, will the cost of checking out books that are never returned become so cost prohibitive that school collections become smaller, or policies tightened so materials are not loaned out at all?  When students are penalized for using materials, are they being taught to value those materials or avoid them?  And how can we teach the value of books, and responsibility that comes with borrowing books, without loaning them out?




Author: Jane Hoff

Middle School Librarian and Media Technician Guest Teacher, K - 12 BA, Sociocultural Anthropology, the University of Chicago, 1995 Graduate Student, Master of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA

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