Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 08-07-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

Issue link: http://valleybreeze.uberflip.com/i/1152197

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 2 of 55

NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | AUGUST 7-13, 2019 THE VALLEY 3 It's a familiar situation for most library patrons: You walk up to the counter with a book or DVD in hand only to find out you owe money on past overdue materials. The amount is usually small, typi- cally only a few dollars. Thanks to a new automatic renew- al system that went into effect last December, that situation is becom- ing less and less frequent at libraries across the state. Overdue books and other materials eligible for renewal now automatically renew as they approach their due date, bringing relief to patrons whose forgetfulness previously resulted in fines. The new system has streamlined the renewal process and led to bet- ter customer service, but it's also caused a steep drop in revenue col- lections for libraries that previously charged fines for all overdue materi- als. For most libraries, it's a small price to pay for the convenience, but some, most of them located within the state's urban core, are raising concerns as the new policy slashes funds they once depended on to buy new books and other materials. Susan Reed is the director of the Pawtucket Public Library, where the amount collected in fines has been cut nearly in half from about $45,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year to $23,000 in 2018-2019. It's a sig- nificant decline in a community where the annual city budget only covers a portion of the cost of new materials, with the library forced to make up the rest with revenue col- lected on overdue books. "A lot of it goes to buying DVDs and print material for children and adults," she said. "We don't have enough from the city, so the money we get from fines is helpful." While the automatic renewals are not the only culprit behind the declining revenue – fines, she said, have been down since the network started sending out reminder noti- fications several years ago – it's the latest change in a system that increasingly favors patrons over cash-strapped libraries trying to enforce late fines on materials. In North Smithfield, Library Director Sue Dubois said she expects to collect about a third less in fines this year due to the auto- matic renewal system and other factors, but she's not worried about the impact on the library's materials budget. The budget, she said, comes from a combination of state aid and town funding with fundraising for some specific items conducted dur- ing the year. "I was never comfortable with fines to begin with," she said. "A lot of times it's used as incentive to bring things back which definitely helps, but to count on money based on people's behavior is probably not the way to go for budgeting pur- poses." Dubois serves as treasurer of the board of directors of Ocean State Libraries, the library consor- tium overseeing the interlibrary loan system in the state. Last November, consortium members took a vote as to whether or not the network should institute the new automatic renewal system as part of a software update. While a few members, including Pawtucket and Woonsocket, voted against the changes, the vast majority of mem- bers voted in favor, prompting a network-wide change that went into effect Dec. 10 of last year. Overall, local library directors said the reaction has been posi- tive as patrons have been able to focus less on fines and more on enjoying the library's services. In Cumberland, where the library requested additional funds from the town this year to make up for a pro- jected $5,000 revenue loss, Library Director Celeste Dyer said they're trying to change the library's image from a penny-pinching, silent one to a place where patrons feel comfort- able. "You just don't want to keep hav- ing those same arguments about the quarter or the 10 cents," she said. "We knew it was going to impact our fines, but we thought the good- will it would generate would be better." The same is true in Greenville, where a $3,500 drop in revenue over the past fiscal year hasn't stopped Library Director Dorothy Swain from seeing the new auto- matic renewal system as a win for patrons. "Our mantra here is public ser- vices," she said. "If it's going to enhance that, then we're all for it." In some other municipalities, penny-pinching might be the new normal if fine revenue continues to decline in the months ahead. In Pawtucket, Reed said she hasn't made her new materials purchases yet for 2019. But those purchases are coming, and with a smaller pot of revenue to work with, the deci- sions on what to keep and what to cut are going to be a little bit tough- er than they were last year. According to Dubois, fine col- lections in North Smithfield had already been declining due to the decision of several of the state's larger libraries, including the Warwick, Cranston, Providence Public and Providence Community Library systems, to stop collecting fines on some materials. Unlike the automatic renewal system, fine poli- cies differ by community, and the library that owns the material deter- mines the amount collected for a particular book. So a book returned late to a library that charges a late fine might not incur a penalty if it came by way of the interlibrary loan system from a library that does not. "It's always kind of a bone of con- tention at all our meetings," Dubois said about the differing fine policies. According to Warwick Library Director Chris LaRoux, Warwick made the decision to go fine-free on children and teen materials last summer after seeing how the sys- tem worked in Cranston. Though Warwick saw a slight drop in fine revenue, they also saw a corre- sponding rise in circulation as users who'd previously been blocked due to unpaid fines were once again able to take out materials. "We looked at our stats, and it was pretty shocking," he said. "There were, I believe, around 7,000 teens and children's cards that were blocked in Warwick. That's rather shocking because our goal, of course, was to instill a love of read- ing and get kids into reading at a younger age." The revenue decline continued as the automatic renewal system went into effect, but, due to the library's budget arrangement with the city of Warwick, the situation didn't cre- ate an immediate budget burden, LaRoux explained. The Warwick Public Library turns fines directly over to the city, so a drop in fine revenue doesn't necessarily mean a drop in funding unless the city decides to implement a correspond- ing budget cut. For now, LaRoux said, the city hasn't expressed any concern about the revenue decline, though he's not sure how city offi- cials would feel if the library decid- ed to change its fine policies for adult materials as well as children's. Other communities, such as Lincoln, use a similar system for submitting fine revenue to the towns. Lincoln Public Library Director Becky Boragine said the library has seen a decline in fine revenue since last December, but State's new automatic renewal system a win for some libraries, but others forced to pay up By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com Overdue and underfunded 'I was never comfortable with fines to begin with. A lot of times it's used as incentive to bring things back which definitely helps, but to count on money based on people's behav- ior is probably not the way to go for budgeting purposes.' SUE DUBOIS North Smithfield Library Director and board member of Ocean State Libraries THE BIRTHDAY CLUB Aug. 12 Cadyn Toner, Happy 8th Birth- day! We love you! Mom, Dad and Christian See LIBRARIES, Page 11 Share your news with thousands of our readers. Write to us at news@valleybreeze. com NOTICE OF PUBLIC SALE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY Notice is hereby given that the undersigned will sell, to satisfy lien of the owner, by public internet sale via www.StorageTreasures.com for competitive bidding to begin on July 31, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. and conclude August 14, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. via the Compass Self Storage located at 711 Branch Ave., Providence, Rhode Island 02904. e personal goods stored therein by the following may include, but are not limited to general household, furniture, boxes, clothes, and appliances. 1220 Brian Bucacci 2181 Sharon Bray 2218 Michael Bolden 2278 Victoria Hayes 7308 Sonni Young 9371 Talisha Harmon Purchases must be made with cash only and paid at the time of sale. All goods are sold as is and must be removed at the time of purchase. Compass Self Storage reserves the right to refuse any bid. Sale is subject to adjournment. STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF FAIRFIELD Docket No. 2019-CP-20-00204 Hampton Beaufort, Plaintiff, v. NOTICE Arthur Hull, Defendant. TO THE ABOVE-NAMED RESPONDENT, ARTHUR HULL: A Summons and Complaint have been filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Fairfield County, State of South Carolina. If you wish to object to this Summons and Complaint, you must respond in writing to the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas, Post Office Drawer 299, Winnsboro, South Carolina 29180, and to the Office of Creighton B. Coleman, Esquire, Post Office Box 1006, Winnsboro, South Carolina 29180, within thirty (30) days of this notice of publication. You must also inform the Court of your current address and any subsequent address changes. Failure to respond within thirty (30) days of receiving notice shall constitute consent to the above-referenced Summons and Complaint and forfeiture of all your rights and obligations. COLEMAN & TOLEN, LLC Creighton B. Coleman (SC Bar # 6521) 120 West Washington Street, Post Office Box 1006 Winnsboro, South Carolina 29180 (803) 635-6884 (803) 635-9228 (facsimile) creighton@colemantolen.com Attorney for the Plaintiffs Winnsboro, South Carolina August 2, 2019

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Valley Breeze - The North Providence Breeze 08-07-2019