Fees for Food

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Fees can really pile up for an overdue library book, but what if there was a way to take care of those fees without using cash or a card? Spanish Fork Library has found a way for library patrons to get rid of those fees while also giving back to the community.

Sundae Harmon and her dogs come to the park right next to Spanish Fork Library every week. “It’s my favorite spot,” she said.

As a substitute teacher, her schedule is somewhat random. When she’s not working she can be found by a table in the park, playing with her dogs, writing in her journal or reading library books.

“If I work, I don’t read, if I don’t work I got a book in my face,” she said.

It hasn’t always been this way. Harmon didn’t learn to read until she was in fifth grade, and it wasn’t until she met a friend in high school that she really developed a passion for books.

“Oh my gosh that’s all [my friend] did! She would lay in her bed, after school, on the weekend, you name it,” Harmon said.

Now Harmon is hooked. “Oh I do check out books, yes, yes,” says Harmon. Sometimes she doesn’t know when to let go of the books. For example, last summer she forgot to return some and had to pay a fee.

“It was ten bucks,” she said. And Harmon isn’t the only one who has received fees.

“I think it’s actually like a dollar right now,” Spanish Fork resident Sean Briggs said of his library fees. He often comes to the library to check out books for his son.

But, unlike most people with fines, Briggs doesn’t plan to pay his until next month.

This is because during the month of November, Spanish Fork library patrons can pay for their book fees not only with cash, but also with non-perishable foods.

Pam Jackson, the library’s director, said, “It has been well received. We had multiple huge barrels worth of food that we turned in.”

The non-perishable food items will waive one dollar of overdue fines for each food item donated for a maximum of ten dollars per account.

Jackson said the annual Food for Fines program has been around since before she arrived fourteen years ago.

“We just feel like it’s been successful in our community,” said Jackson.

The library donates the food to a local food pantry where it can help those in need. This year, Tabitha’s Way Thrift Store & Food Pantry will receive the donations.

Jackson says that the program has benefited both those with fees and also those in need. “They feel like they’re doing something good for the community as well as getting the added bonus of their fines removed.”

Still at the park, Harmon continues to read. “I’ve learned so much from reading,” shared Harmon.

She plans to donate food with or without fees. “I love it,” she says, “so we can give back to our community.”

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