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Fines for overdue library books to double

CONYERS -- Library patrons who are late in returning borrowed books to the library will soon find their delinquency to be more expensive.

The executive committee for the Public Information Network for Electronic Services -- PINES for short -- voted in May to increase the overdue fee for books from 10 cents per day to 20 cents per day, effective July 1.

PINES is a consortium of 285 public libraries and affiliated service outlets in 143 Georgia counties that offers citizens a shared catalog of approximately 10.4 million items, available through a single library card that is accepted in all member libraries. The increase in overdue book fines will affect all PINES members, including Nancy Guinn Memorial Library in Conyers and the Newton County library system.

The increase in fines was necessary in order to recoup the cost of collecting fines due for materials that are returned late or to replace materials that are not returned at all.

"Overdue fees have never increased since PINES was introduced in 1999," said PINES Program Director Elizabeth McKinney. "More and more, however, public libraries are being forced to use debt recovery agencies, and this fine increase for books is necessary to defray the cost of that service in addition to helping fund the replacement costs of unrecoverable items."

The executive committee is also considering similar fee increases for overdue magazines, audio books, compact discs and other items.

For more information about PINES or for a complete list of PINES libraries, visit www.georgialibraries.org/public/pines.php.