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Cumberland County May Soon Crack Down On Overdue Book Patrons

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — It is an oversight many of us have made in the past, realizing a movie or library book is a day or two late getting back. Cumberland County's library system says the fines are stacking up, and now they are considering getting the law involved.

It may seem simple enough, but many library books are not making it back on the shelves on time. Some people are more than willing to pay the fines, while others simply ignore them and do not return the books.

"It's free of charge to the public. If you violate that, I feel you should be penalized," says patron Linda Fuller.

With his budget cut by more than a million dollars this year, Cumberland County Library Director Jerry Thrasher wants to go after extreme cases.

"Money is short. If materials are returned, other people can check them out. We don't have to use our limited book budget to buy replacement materials," he says.

Thrasher is now looking into using a collection agency civil or criminal action to get the money paid and the books back.

Cumberland County Sheriff Earl Butler, whose wife is a retired librarian, says whether people realize it or not, it is stealing and he is willing to get involved.

"When law enforcement goes out and knocks on the door to serve a paper on a book, it makes a bigger impression than a letter in the mail," he says.

Thrasher plans to meet with the county attorney next week to consider all the options. He hopes to have a plan in place very soon.


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