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Library fines, fees go up
Effort aimed at inventory, funds
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County library visitors soon will face higher fines and fees.

The extra costs, effective February, aim to raise revenue for the library system, which is facing county budget reductions.

The library board voted Monday night to double the fine for overdue materials from 10 cents per day to 20 cents.

It also approved charging patrons $2 for shipping items loaned between library systems, as well as raising the library fee for noncounty residents from $30 to $60.

Anyone who owes between $10 and $24 will be contacted by a debt agency, urging them to repay fees or face action.

The board also voted to lower from $25 to $10 the minimum amount owed before action is taken.

While the measures are intended mainly to retrieve materials, the library will take the necessary steps to recover fees, director Jon McDaniel said.

“We’re just going after every nickel or dime now,” he said. “It’s just difficult times.”

The library system faces a reduction of $179,000 in operating costs in the current version of the proposed 2010 county budget.

In anticipation of that, the board voted to reduce paid benefits for employees and enact eight unpaid holidays.

“We’re sorry for what we had to do, and we hope that y’all will just stick with us,” Chairwoman Mary Helen McGruder told library staff.

As the meeting wrapped up, she noted that county and state officials have praised the library system’s efficiency.

Anna Lyle, assistant director of support services, said the system finds itself in a better situation than some other county departments, since it saved past revenue surpluses.

This money can go toward funding Hampton Park, the county’s third branch, which is set to open in February.

With no money to spare in the budget, the library will not hire additional staff to work at the new location, which is in north Forsyth.

Though the system has few volunteers, new ones will be accepted to accommodate the limited budget and the need at the new branch, Lyle said.

All votes Monday were 4-0, with board member Mike Sleister absent.