Library looks into options to retrieve late and lost items

ISHPEMING — Have you returned your library books? One local library is looking into measures to help get some overdue items back on their shelves.

The Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library already uses calls and notification letters to try to get overdue and missing items back from borrowers. While that usually works, items that never make their way back to the library can become a costly problem. Officials are looking at the possibility of hiring a collections agency to help retrieve lost property.

“January through July of 2015, we had already accrued just over $2,700 in lost item fees, and what that means is if people still didn’t bring them back or pay to have them replaced, then we have to use city funds to purchase the same item twice,” said Library Director Jessica Shirtz. “Our entire purpose as a library is to be a positive influence on the community, and we’re just looking to maintain that with everyone. So, we would just like to offer all of our collection to everybody instead of just part of it.”

The library is also planning an amnesty month in December. Borrowers can return overdue or lost items during that month and avoid paying any fees. Sixth through twelfth grade students can also get their overdue fees waived if they visit the library during Teen Read Week, which begins October 18th.

Funds for employing a collections agency have been included as part of the library’s budget request for 2016. That request must be approved by the City Council before it takes effect.

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