The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Pay Off Fines and Help Stock Food Bank During Food For Fines Jan. 22-28

Do you know somebody who’s reluctant to return a library book because the overdue fine is too scary? Know a child who can’t check out more books or movies until his $10 fine is reduced? Or are you among the 80,000 library patrons with some level of fine or fee? ($3.20 is the average; the smallest balance is 3 cents.)

This might help: The Springfield-Greene County Libraries are again offering a painless way to pay off overdue-book fines while helping the hungry in the Ozarks.

During Food For Fines week, Jan. 22-28, the Library will subtract 50 cents from your overdue-fines balance for each item of non-perishable food you bring to any branch library or the Mobile Library.

This is the third year of our Food For Fines partnership with Ozarks Food Harvest.

Patrons may deliver non-perishable items to the checkout desk at any of the district’s 10 branch libraries or the Mobile Library during regular business hours. The food bank especially needs canned meats, canned and boxed meals, peanut butter, canned fruit, cereal and hygiene items. Please no beverages in plastic or glass containers.

There’s no limit – bring in two items, pay off $1; 10 items pays down $5. Bring in more, pay off more. (The offer does not apply to fees for lost or damaged materials.) Since patrons with a $10 fine may not check out more items until it’s reduced, Food For Fines has the added benefit of helping kids, teens and adults reduce their fines so they can begin enjoying library privileges again. It might also encourage those fraidy-cats to return long-overdue books so others can enjoy then.

During the 2011 Food For Fines, Library patrons donated 8,357 lbs. – more than 4 tons – of non-perishable food to Ozarks Food Harvest. That provided 6,429 meals to the food bank’s network of food pantries and feeding sites. In turn, the Library forgave about $3,400 in overdue fines.

We help you, you help them: The Food Bank distributes 12 million lbs. of food annually to agencies serving poverty-stricken children, working poor, families and seniors in 28 southwest Missouri counties, reaching more than 20,000 people weekly. It also offers direct relief through its Kids Café, Weekend Backpack Program, Senior Food Box and Mobile Food Pantry programs.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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