Students who play by the book steer clear of fines

Tiffany Ciesicki

Those who don’t play by the rules, pay the fine – at the library anyway.

However, the fines are there for a reason, and Circulation Manager Bob Gray said they are necessary.

Gray said no student is happy to hear that he or she owes money to the library for an overdue or destroyed book, and many try to get away with an excuse.

Kyle Karey, post-undergraduate geology student, who works at the circulation desk said students often come to the desk with fantastic excuses.

“(We get them) all the time,” Karey said. “Thankfully, we don’t deal with the excuses, we send them to the billing office.”

Sue Lacy is the supervisor of the billing office in the Library. She bears the brunt of the complaints and arguments of unhappy people coming to take care of their fines.

“The majority aren’t happy about having fines but are compliant,” Lacy said. “Then you have those who are angry and irate and try to get nasty with me. There are even a few who come to me so upset and crying.”

Lacy said she does what she can to deal with the circumstances.

“We don’t want to come down on them too hard,” she said. “I try to work with the people so that they can leave on a better note.”

Students are notified of the overdue book one day after the due date. Eight days past the due date students are notified once more by e-mail. Students are charged 10 cents for each day a KentLINK book is overdue, and 50 cents for OhioLINK books.

If the book is not returned in 30 days, a bill is sent to replace the book. The price differs for the type of material but is usually about $65 for most KentLINK items and $125 for OhioLINK items.

Students receive an initial statement of charges 30 days after they receive the bill if it has not been paid. If the bill is still not paid by the time the student receives the third statement, usually about 90 days after the first bill is sent out, then their Bursar account is frozen, and the student cannot receive grades or register for classes.

Tommy Kientzy, senior computer animation major, realized he had an extremely overdue library book when he tried to view his grades at the end of a semester and found he was blocked from doing so.

“I had an overdue book from the library, and I forgot all about it for months,” he said. “I returned the book four months past when it was due. They didn’t make me pay the fee, they were just happy to get the book back.”

Gray said there are times when a book is returned after being overdue or missing for an extensive amount of time.

Gray said there was one time when someone returned books that were found in the basement of the home they were moving into. The books had been checked out by the previous inhabitants and had been missing for several years. It was quite a surprise to everyone at the circulation desk to see the books again.

Another time, Gray said he got a call from an auto garage that had found overdue books inside a car that was impounded after an accident.

Many students will never have to worry about excessive library fines.

Colleen Zaidman, junior justice studies major, has been attending the university for three years and has yet to face her first library fine.

“I just remember to take my books back when they are due,” she said.

Gray said if students play by the book, so to speak, they won’t get trampled by fines.

Contact library reporter Tiffany Ciesicki at [email protected].