Library will use agency to collect fines, books

This article submitted on 4/5/00.

From now on, library users who run up large overdue fines and fail to pay them are likely to hear from a collection agency.

Starting Monday, April 3, overdue records of the Great River Regional Library patrons may be turned over to Unique Management Services. The agency will then track down the patrons in order to collect the fines.

Previously, the library system has relied on its own staff to contact delinquent borrowers. "We need to improve our recovery of lost material," says library director Ken Behringer. "We would prefer to spend our collection budget buying new, in-demand items rather than replacing things that are missing or stolen."

The process will work this way, Behringer said. After 45 days have passed, an item that has not been returned will be identified as lost. A bill will be sent, and if it is not returned and all fines paid within 14 days, the file will be turned over to the collection agency with a $10 service fee added to the patron's account.

"We have hired a company with successful library experience," Behringer said. "We feel that UMS will help us recover significant amounts of material with no loss of patron goodwill.

Great River Regional Library system is headquartered in St. Cloud and includes 30 branch libraries. It has branch libraries in Paynesville and Richmond.

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