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SFCC to stop penalizing for overdue library books

By Michele Rollen, Alligator Writer

Published for the Independent Alligator, May 24, 2001

Santa Fe Community College students will have one less worry this Fall.

Effective Aug. 22, SFCC will no longer charge fees for overdue library books. Students will not be fined if books and other materials are not returned by the due date, but student records will still be flagged.

According to Joanne Laipply, library director at SFCC, the decision will not only help library staff and SFCC's finance department, but will encourage students to use the library more often.

"Dues took a lot of staff time and student frustration," Laipply said. "This was a student oriented move, as well as a business move."

Victoria Cori, a SFCC student who works at the library, said students would often get upset and swear the books have been turned in, then tow weeks later bring the same books back. She said the new policy is both good and bad.

"It's good for the individual, but bad for everyone else waiting for the missing book," Cori said.

The Library Advisory Committee recommended the end to the fees at the inquiry of the finance department at SFCC, who said the effort to process and collect overdue fines was not worth the return on the books.

"Other community college such as Miami-Dade, FCCJ, Seminole and others have no overdue fee, as well as the Alachua County Public Library," Laipply said.

The new policy also will help distance-learning UF students who have overdue books at SFCC. UF and other universities, as well as 28 community colleges around the state, have a reciprocal borrowing policy that enables students to borrow books.

UF charges fines at the rate 25 cents a day and 25 cents an hour for reserved books, though a seven-day grace period exists.

According to Carol Drum, chairwoman of Marston Science Library, often the biggest charge comes from science books that can cost three or four hundred dollars.

"We usually have problems with students who have multiple books or when we have to charge replacement fee," Drum said. "That's when we get students' attention."