ELIMINATE LIBRARY FINES
We were excited to open up the Illinois Times Best of Springfield 2019 issue and see that “Eliminate library fines” was literally front and center in the issue as Best Idea (Oct. 24). It’s an idea that I have been talking about since my first interview with the city, as I had witnessed a fine-free policy successfully implemented at my previous library, and as I see many other libraries, including Chicago Public, implement. I have discussed it with staff, with our board, with community members and with city officials. It is something that I am personally and professionally committed to, but please know that it’s a bit more complicated than just making it so. It’s a process with policy and budget implications and requires continuing conversations with staff, stakeholders, board and city officials. If you weren’t aware, in 2017 we dropped fines for all youth materials and have auto-renewal on most material up to three times.
For those who have concerns about accountability, we do charge for lost and damaged materials, and check-out is prohibited for those with more than $10 in fines and fees. This policy stands for our youth materials and would continue should we go completely fine-free.
I invite your comments and questions about this rapidly growing trend in public libraries. We are deeply appreciative of the community’s interest in library accessibility.
Rochelle Hartman, Director
Regarding your Best of Springfield issue (“Best Bakery, Best Wedding Cakes, Best Farmers Market Vendor,” Oct. 24), Incredibly Delicious is kind enough to share items that did not sell the day before with the Senior Center. It is appreciated!
THE JOY OF POLITICS
I really enjoyed reading “The joy of politics” (GUESTWORK, Oct. 3), it defines how I feel about politics. While some people only see the bad, government has its ups and downs. As Lee Hamilton explains, there is power when you work with politics to affect a change for yourself, your community and your loved ones. I made it a point as my kids grew up to take them with me to vote and also to be aware of current events.
It’s always my opinion we should look at both sides of an issue to find the common ground, knowing that we all may not get what we want but the decision is for the whole of community, not just one person or one set of people.
We have certain rights through our government that we have to persist and fight for, that’s where the fun comes in for me. It’s okay to see the backlash that’s going on in today’s politics. I see that fighting for the rule of law and the protection of our constitution is exciting. Though we might have wins and losses, I know the power of the Constitution and everything that our country was built on will prevail.
There is pain in the political process, but for me, there’s joy in seeing the process of politics play out. While others get joy from sporting events or other competitions, I get joy from watching debates and listening to different points of view, even if I don’t agree.