The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Food For Fines Collects More Than 4 Tons of Food

Ozarks Food Harvest is more than 4 tons of food richer this week, enough to provide more than 6,400 meals for hungry people in the Ozarks. And all because of overdue library fines.

About 80,000 library cardholders owe some level of fines or fees at any given time. So the library district partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest to turn overdue fines into a positive for everyone. In our second year of Food For Fines, patrons received 50 cents off their overdue fine balance for each item of nonperishable food they took to a library branch Jan. 23-29.

The results: A whopping 8,357 pounds of food, beating the 2010 total of 6,261 pounds. In turn, the library forgave about $3,400 in overdue fines this year.

Food wasn’t the only tangible benefit. Many patrons who were having trouble taking care of their fines in this economy found it easier to whittle down their balance with food – and said it gave them a sense of pride that they could help others in the process.

We were equally overwhelmed at the number of people with no fines who just came in to donate food – “Because I know they need it,” one woman told us.

So, thanks for the 7 lb. can of pork and beans, the 30 Gillette deodorants, the cans of Spam and mountains of mac ‘n cheese. We thank you, and Ozarks Food Harvest thanks you.
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The Back Porch Players will perform Civil War-era music at 3 p.m. today (Feb. 13) at the Library Center. It’s sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Their free show helps kick off the library’s extensive lineup of Civil War-related programs this spring and all of April during the Big Read. To learn more, go to

One upcoming free program is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 in the Library Center auditorium. It’s “Community and Conflict: Find Your Civil War Ancestors.” Local History librarian Michael Price will share research tips for discovering your Civil War ancestry and your ancestors’ military service.

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