Friday, January 20, 2006

Why I Happily Paid an Erroneous $20 Library Fee

I am a enthusiastic user of my local public library. I am fortunate to live 3 blocks from the library. Actually, I shouldn't say that I'm fortunate to live close to a library - I live close to a library by design. It was one of my neighborhood requirements when considering where to live when I was in the market for a new home.

I especially like checking movies out from the library. I can keep it for two weeks before it is due back, which eliminates the time pressure so I can watch it at my leisure. Plus it give me time to watch the director's voice-over version as well. Before Christmas I checked out the DVD The Usual Suspects. I watched the movie and returned it a few days later at my local branch. The following week I received an e-mail from the library stating that I hadn't returned the movie. I dropped by the branch to let them know that I did indeed return it in, and they said they'd put it on a 45-day watch list. If it turns up within 45 days, then I do not have to pay a late fee. If not, then I'll be charged a replacement fee for the video. Well 45 came and went and the movie was not found. So last week I paid a $20 replacement fee. I did not argue with them, or plead my case. I understand that it was simple human error. These things happen occasionally.

I gain so much benefit from using the library. I've saved hundreds of dollars by avoiding movie rental fees and for books that I never have to purchase. When my young nieces are visiting, I stock my house with children's books and videos from the library. I also check out children's stories on CD or tape that I play in the car when driving around town. They love it.

So I don't mind that $20 fee that I paid. I think of it as a small donation to my local library.

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