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Canton News

2/24/2014 - Food for Fines Amnesty at Canton Public Library

“Food for Fines Amnesty” at Canton Public Library

For the four weeks between March 3 and March 29, patrons of the Canton Public Library may pay off all outstanding fines for overdue materials by donating non-perishable food items at the library, which will benefit the Canton Food Bank. Fines of any amount, excluding charges for lost or damaged materials, will be forgiven in full for patrons who come in and offer at least one (more than one, we hope) non-perishable food item, such as canned goods, cereals, pasta, rice, coffee, peanut butter, and other goods. Items such as bottled water, toothpaste, soap, and other personal hygiene products are also welcome. Lost or damaged items are not part of the amnesty because the costs to replace them would otherwise come directly out of library funds.

Although there will be no reckoning of equivalency for the number of items brought in relative to the amount of the fine, the library hopes people will be generous. All donations will be given to the Canton Food Bank to assist area residents.

 March has been chosen for the amnesty program because it corresponds with low supplies at food banks.  Donations peak in the months of November and December; toward the end of winter donations and supplies are significantly diminished. The shelves need refilling and we ask our patrons to step up and help those in need.

The March fine amnesty idea is not unique to Canton; it has been tried successfully elsewhere in Connecticut and in other states. Supported by the Town of Canton administration, this is the library’s second annual Food For Fines event. In 2013, 878 items were collected for the food bank as a result of the library’s amnesty program. The program aims to encourage patrons who have had long overdue items to return them, as well as allowing others to clear their records in a refreshing way, while helping the community at the same time. By providing this special offer, the library also hopes to strengthen its relationship with patrons who might not be using the library fully because of fines. In addition, the returned items prevent additional expenditures necessary to replace them. The library considers this a “win-win” opportunity.

For further information, please call the library at (860)693-6033.