INFORMATION RELEASE                                     
For Release April 9, 2007                                       
Media Contact: Heather O'Connell                                          
(239) 461-2924 or hoconnell@leegov.com                                   
                                                                                  

Late Book? You’re Off the Hook at Lee County Library System

FORT MYERS, Fla., April 4, 2007 - Got late library books, movies or music? Return them April 16-30, 2007 with no late fees!

“This is a one-time opportunity to bring in any overdue items without paying late fees, no questions asked.  It doesn’t matter how many you have or how long they’ve been out, just return them during Amnesty Days and you’re off the hook for those items,” said Lee County Library System (LCLS) Community Relations Coordinator Heather O’Connell.

More than 14,000 people in Lee County have at least one overdue library item and librarians would like to get those items back on the shelves for others to enjoy.

“When materials aren’t returned, other patrons can’t use them. The library may have to pay to replace those items instead of purchasing new titles,” O’Connell said.

The numbers add up: an audit in 2005 showed missing library items and late fees topped the 2 million dollar mark. That’s why the library is offering its users a final opportunity to close the book on fines before new policies take effect on May 1.

“We’ll be enlisting the help of an agency that works extensively with libraries in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. They specialize in the recovery of overdue materials and have an excellent record of treating library patrons respectfully and fairly,” O’Connell said.

In fairness to library users who return items or pay fines in a timely manner, the cost of the service will be passed on as a fee to each patron whose account is turned over to the agency.

“We understand that everyone misplaces things sometimes. The important thing is that materials are returned and our patrons can go back to enjoying all the library has to offer,” O’Connell said.

Need a ride to the library to bring back your books? Just show any library item when you board a Lee Tran bus April 16-30 and you’ll get a free ride to the nearest library.

So look under the couch, go through the toy boxes and book cases and see if there are any library books, movies, CDs or software and bring them back April 16 – 30. 

Library users can also check the status of their accounts 24/7 by calling 338-3518, or visiting the library website at www.lee-county.com/library


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