Library board concerned about book returns

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Staff Writer

May 9, 2000 10 PM

The Troy Public Library wants to send a message ­ checking out a book doesn’t mean you can have it.

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Jim Chance, chairman of the library board, told the Troy City Council about problems the library is having with people not returning books or videotapes.

"The problem has increased," Chance said.

Actually, figures show about $12,000 worth of items have been checked out and never seen again. The average cost of a book is $30, which means many items are missing.

"We’ve had fines of $60 and when you’re talking about 10 cents per day, that’s a lot of days," Chance said.

He said some patrons have 15 or more items out over a year’s time.

"We’re talking about months and months," Chance said.

Since the overdue notices, which are sent every two weeks, are not working, the library board is considering civil action.

After checking with other libraries, the Troy Public Library Board has decided it will send three notices from the board. After the third letter, the matter will be taken to small claims court.

Chance said the library will recoup the costs by any judgements forcing the individual to pay court costs and the filing fee.

"I regret we’re in the position to have to do this," Chance said. "Unfortunately, people think public means free."

He pointed out the library is for the entire public’s use and wants to have materials available for those who want to use them.

Council President John Witherington said, in his opinion, the council should support the library board’s actions.

"It astounded me to look at the list," Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said.

He said one patron had checked out nine books in December 1998 and none of them have been returned.

In other business:

· The council had its first consideration of a polling location to replace the Army Reserve Center, which can’t be used because of federal restrictions.

The Pike County Commission is looking into setting up a temporary building at Park Memorial United Methodist Church.

Municipal elections will be in August.

· The mayor talked about Troy Elementary School’s anti-litter campaign.

He commended the students for their efforts to make Troy a cleaner place to live.

Lunsford also said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough is attending the state PALS conference. Plans are for the police department to step up efforts on the litter problem.

· Lunsford formally announced the appointment of Jimmy Jordan to the Troy Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

· Councilwoman Wanda Moultry reminded residents in District 5 of the special clean-up between May 15-19. Large items will be picked up in that district when residents call 566-1133 to make arrangements.

· Lunsford thanked the city employees for making this past weekend’s open house and millennium torch dedication a success and "momentous occasion."

· The council was told a colonel at Fort Rucker has informed Lunsford that a helicopter for Bicentennial Park has been located.