Monday, January 26, 2009

Rambo Librarians

As an elementary school librarian, I find the story below absurd. The paperwork, manpower, etc. to arrest and process the woman mentioned below would cost way more than the $13.95 book. This was justice taken too far. At my school, I don't even charge overdue fines. I charge for lost books. I certainly don't turn parents over to collection agencies if they don't pay for lost books. I even offer payment plans and reduced costs for those for whom it would be a struggle to pay. In the few cases where parents do not acknowledge my correspondence, their children simply lose borrowing privileges. I think a better course of action would have been to take away her borrowing privileges from all public libraries in her state of residence until the book was paid for.

Unreturned library book leads to woman's arrest

Published: Jan 24, 2009

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa woman has been arrested because she failed to return a library book.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge. She is accused of keeping "The Freedom Writers Diary," which she checked out from the public library in nearby Jesup in April.

Police say the book - which is about a high school teacher's effort to inspire students to write - is valued at $13.95.

Court records show library employees tried repeatedly to contact Koontz by phone and mail. A police officer even visited her home last September.

Officials at the Buchanan County jail say Koontz was released after posting $250 bond. No telephone listing for Koontz could be found in the Independence area.


Information from: The Gazette,
AP Mobile News Network. © 2008 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


Jason said...

I don't know. In this article, the president of the library board is quoted saying "There is more to this issue than is coming to light at the present time. It would be inappropriate to discuss those circumstances."

The book (The Freedom Writers Diary) has caused some controversy for its racial slurs and sexuality. My guess: she stole the book to keep it out of circulation, and refuses to pay for it for the same reason.

Kathy Mansfield said...

Very interesting. I'll be anxious to see how the story develops. And, unfortunately for the accused, usually books that are censored or mentioned in criminal activity are the books that receive high circulation. Everyone loves a scandal, it seems.

Jason said...

Last summer I ran across a craigslist posting that criticized some independently published book for being scandalous, depraved, etc. (in different words, but the same idea) and called for it to be banned. Somebody later proved that the poster was actually the author. An effective way to drum up interest I suppose.

Jason said...

Well, my guess about her stealing the book to keep it out of circulation couldn't have been less correct. I mean, if she hated it, why would she want a signed copy from the author?

Countdown to Elianna!