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Morris Library to offer Food for Fines program in June

Patrons can pay off $1 per item donated

MORRIS – It has happened to almost everyone at one time or another. You go to the library, check out a book or a movie, then forget you have it.

Before long, the library is calling to ask for the item back – plus a little interest since it’s overdue.

Normally, the fine isn’t hefty. But, with tough economic times, not everyone has extra cash for overdue library items – particularly if the fine has built up.

The Morris Area Public Library, located at 604 Liberty St. in Morris, has a program in June that can help people in just that situation.

The Food for Fines program starts June 1 and allows Morris Library cardholders who have fines on their account to bring in nonperishable food items.

Each item will deduct $1 from fines owed.

At the end of the month, all items will be donated to We Care of Grundy County.

“We did this program once before, in September of 2014,” program leader Jennifer Crisostomo said. “That time, we ran it for two weeks, and it was a pretty big success. We had 50 to 60 cardholders clear their fines entirely and we collected enough food to clear about $600 worth of fines. We decided to try it for the full month this year and see how it goes.”

Some suggested donated items include canned fruits, vegetables, meat or fish, canned soup, instant potatoes, boxed pasta, rice or beans, cereal, baking mix, syrup, peanut butter, jelly and oatmeal.

Items that will not be accepted include those beyond the expiration date, any homemade items, glass jars, items with blacked out or torn labels, or dented or damaged items.

Crisostomo said library staff understands fines can quickly add up and this program aims to alleviate that.

“This way, people can bring in some food, clear their fines and be able to get back to using the library,” she said. “And the food stays local, going to families in need, so everyone wins.”

Items must be dropped off at one of the library’s two circulation desks in order to be applied to fines.

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