New Castle County will forgive library fines up to $25 and collect food for the needy during the second annual “Food for Fines” week, county officials announced Wednesday.
Overdue fine forgiveness is offered as a holiday gift – Dec. 12 through 18 only – to anyone who presents his or her county library card and asks for amnesty at any branch in the county library system.
“This was a great project last year and we’re happy to bring it back in the holiday spirit,” County Executive Thomas P. Gordon said, noting that the debut “Food for Fines” was covered by media as far away as California and as prominent as The Baltimore Sun.
At the same time they are forgiving fines, libraries will collect food donations to support AFSCME Local Union 459 Needy Family Fund’s annual Holiday Food Drive, said General Manager Sophia Hanson of the Department of Community Services, which includes county libraries.
Library branches, their locations and hours are listed at www.nccde.org/286/Libraries. Residents also may find their nearest county library by calling (302) 395-5680.
At a time when more than one in every eight Delawareans struggles with hunger, “Food for Fines” donations will support Local 459’s longtime effort to provide holiday meals for the less fortunate, Hanson said.
All kinds of canned goods and other nonperishable foods are welcomed in unopened, unbreakable packages – not beyond expiration dates – and may be donated anytime during library hours in bins placed by libraries’ entrance/exits, Local 459 President John Spence said.
The amnesty offer ends when libraries close on Dec. 18 and covers only overdue fees, not lost, billed or damaged items.
Last year’s debut “Food for Fines” amnesty week was arranged in a matter of days after the idea was suggested by Youth Services Librarian Elisabeth Simmons of the Kirkwood Library, who read about a similar program in Maryland.
“We all knew right away that this was a tremendous idea and the turnout proved us right,” Hanson said.
About 1,400 library cardholders took advantage of the offer, she said, adding, “we waived exactly $7,693.55.”
For more information, contact Administrative Librarian Marlene Esposito at (302) 395-5665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.