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Canberra library fine gatherers cough up three and a half tonnes of food

By johnboy - 6 January 2012 5

Chief Minister Gallagher is praising the generosity (*cough*) of the Library users who chose to donate 3,500 kg of food over christmas in lieu of their fines:

“A total of 8,084 items were donated through Libraries ACT’s nine branches, with three of the libraries – Dickson, Gungahlin and Woden – each having well over 1,000 items donated,” the Chief Minister said.

“This beats last year’s total of 7,400 food items.

“I would like to thank the community for once again supporting this important initiative and for helping to make Christmas a little brighter for Canberrans in need,” the Chief Minister said.

The campaign encouraged library members to donate tins or packets of non-perishable food in exchange for fines being removed from their membership record. One tin or packet of non-perishable food equalled $2 worth of fines.

All the food was donated to OzHarvest Canberra which provides food to more than 55 charities in Canberra and Queanbeyan.

A warm fuzzy and money off the fine. No mention of the value of the donated goods.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Canberra library fine gatherers cough up three and a half tonnes of food
Snarky 9:13 pm 08 Jan 12

toriness said :

quite frankly if someone’s late fine total was $5 and they handed over an 89c can of beans then it’s actually a pretty crap outcome.

The rate was one can or food item per $2 of fines.

Library fines are hardly so onerous that many people would try to shortchange it, especially when it was clear where the food was going. For the very few who were so calculating I suspect their uncharity was more than made up for by the rest of the givers. In any case the niggardliness of our hypothetical scab doesn’t affect you in any way, does it?

I paid off $6 worth of fines with $10 worth of food, and would happily continue to do so if the library makes it a permanent option.

AsparagusSyndrome 4:48 pm 08 Jan 12

I think the libraries might want to be careful about being recognised as ‘charity drop off points’ or they might find ute-loads of garbage dumped outside their doors, as per
http://the-riotact.com/this-is-not-charity-dumping-in-canberra/62714

But seriously – I think the ‘food for fines’ amnesty is a good initiative, reasonably pitched (89 cent tins of beans notwithstanding), and not bad public policy either.

what_the 6:43 am 07 Jan 12

toriness said :

thatsnotme said :

A warm fuzzy and money off the fine. No mention of the value of the donated goods.

What value do you put on a donation like this? Is it “this tin cost me 89 cents at Woolies”, or “this tin helps a person eat, who otherwise may not have been able to”?
Is there any reason that something like this shouldn’t be permanent? Returning a book late costs the library service nothing, so foregoing those late fines and instead providing incentive for people to donate to charity year round should be a no brainer really?

Unless of course the library service is so poorly funded that they’re relying on late fees to continue operating…but surely fines wouldn’t ever be considered a reliable source of income for the ACT Government…

quite frankly if someone’s late fine total was $5 and they handed over an 89c can of beans then it’s actually a pretty crap outcome.

fines and penalties (any, not just library late fines) are put in place for a dual purpose – firstly and mainly to act as a financial disincentive to help prevent people doing the wrong thing (in this case, keep a book longer than the time set in the terms and conditions on which they agreed to in loaning it in the first place) when their good conscience isn’t in full working order, and secondly fines can also go some way towards financing the agency responsible for compliance because it costs time (therefore money) to identify and chase up people doing the wrong thing.

the christmas food-for-fines program is a nice fuzzy idea but it’s pretty much an amnesty. maybe my next late fee on a parking fine i should hand over a can of baked beans instead of paying the late penalty – using the library situation as a precedent 🙂

Yes and what’s next, I can just kill whoever I want and just hand in a tin of spaghetti instead of doing the jailterm! – using the library situation as precedent 🙂

They’re public library fines. I’d rather someone be put out by not being able to get a book than not be abe to eat. I dont think the public library system is in it for the financial returns. This is showing real initiative by a govt dept. instead of the standard it’s not my problem go to talk to dept x that deals with those issues.

toriness 9:02 pm 06 Jan 12

thatsnotme said :

A warm fuzzy and money off the fine. No mention of the value of the donated goods.

What value do you put on a donation like this? Is it “this tin cost me 89 cents at Woolies”, or “this tin helps a person eat, who otherwise may not have been able to”?

Is there any reason that something like this shouldn’t be permanent? Returning a book late costs the library service nothing, so foregoing those late fines and instead providing an incentive for people to donate to charity year round should be a no brainer really?

Unless of course the library service is so poorly funded that they’re relying on late fees to continue operating…but surely fines wouldn’t ever be considered a reliable source of income for the ACT Government…

quite frankly if someone’s late fine total was $5 and they handed over an 89c can of beans then it’s actually a pretty crap outcome.

fines and penalties (any, not just library late fines) are put in place for a dual purpose – firstly and mainly to act as a financial disincentive to help prevent people doing the wrong thing (in this case, keep a book longer than the time set in the terms and conditions on which they agreed to in loaning it in the first place) when their good conscience isn’t in full working order, and secondly fines can also go some way towards financing the agency responsible for compliance because it costs time (therefore money) to identify and chase up people doing the wrong thing.

the christmas food-for-fines program is a nice fuzzy idea but it’s pretty much an amnesty. maybe my next late fee on a parking fine i should hand over a can of baked beans instead of paying the late penalty – using the library situation as a precedent 🙂

thatsnotme 7:18 pm 06 Jan 12

A warm fuzzy and money off the fine. No mention of the value of the donated goods.

What value do you put on a donation like this? Is it “this tin cost me 89 cents at Woolies”, or “this tin helps a person eat, who otherwise may not have been able to”?

Is there any reason that something like this shouldn’t be permanent? Returning a book late costs the library service nothing, so foregoing those late fines and instead providing an incentive for people to donate to charity year round should be a no brainer really?

Unless of course the library service is so poorly funded that they’re relying on late fees to continue operating…but surely fines wouldn’t ever be considered a reliable source of income for the ACT Government…

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