February 6, 2008

Dance Your Fines Away

Filed under: precat — jenny @ 8:54 pm

Last year, I noted a librarian who waives the fines of patrons who play DDR against her. This year, the Wadleigh Memorial Library makes it an official part of its Patron Appreciation Day.
Library Patrons Try to Dance Away Late Fees at Video Game Competition

“Library users with unpaid fines had a chance to redeem themselves Thursday during the annual Patron Appreciation Day at the Wadleigh Memorial Library.
Instead of a scolding when they arrived, delinquent patrons were received like party guests.
Patrons were invited to make good on unpaid fines by donating canned and packaged foods for the local soup kitchen or by entering a dance competition, ‘Dance Dance Revolution.’
To sweeten the pot, during most of the day the library served coffee, bagels, pastries and ice cream, donated by area businesses….
The teen and preteen girls who showed up to play Dance Dance included 18-year-old Missy Hutchins, who owed $5 in fines, and Elicia Vallier, 12, and Maria Romanenko, 11, who had no debts to pay.
Hutchins, who has been playing the video dance game for four years, including several as part of DDR club at Milford High School, won her round against Spofford and happily reported to the front desk with a coupon she used to pay off her $5 obligation.
The other girls took second turns competing against the librarian, just for fun.
‘Video games are things kids like to do, and we thought this would bring them in to the library,’ Spofford said before the dance contest began. ‘If they have fines, they don’t come in. We don’t want them to be afraid to come in.’ ” [Nashua Telegraph, via joystiq, thanks James!]


  1. An excellent reminder of the little fiefdoms and arbitrary rulesets that librarians run, in their little dusty kingdoms.

    Comment by Jason Scott — February 6, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  2. […] Dans istället för förseningsavgifter 7 februari 2008 Posted by Eleonor in Uncategorized. trackback The Shifted Librarian berättar om hur spel kan användas i biblioteken pÃ¥ de mest oväntade sätt. […]

    Pingback by Dans istället för förseningsavgifter « Spelbiblioteket — February 7, 2008 @ 1:42 am

  3. Why do libraries want to encourage visits and/or use by the very same people who ruin libraries for the rest of the patrons. Return your books on time. If you don’t/can’t, pay the fine. If you can’t pay the fine, you can’t borrow anything else. It’s pretty simple.
    Libraries can’t spend money they don’t have/make/replace. Patrons can’t use books you won’t/can’t return. We already bought the book once, just bring it back. Sheesh.

    Comment by jmomls — February 7, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  4. I love that idea. We have a fine free week, but alas, no entertainment!
    Its also fun to make patrons work a little bit for their forgiveness.

    Comment by Moviegirl20 — February 7, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  5. Jason, that’s called “local rule,” and I doubt we’d be happy if every library was run the exact same way since we’d probably each disagree with some of the “national” policies anyway.
    jmomls, I think the last paragraph from the excerpt helps explain why librarians try to work with teens on the fines issue. As someone who is lucky enough to be very privileged, I also don’t like absolutes when it comes to economics. YMMV, though.
    Moviegirl20, I love the idea, too! 🙂

    Comment by jenny — February 7, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  6. Welcoming, forgiving and fun. What more could you want. What a great idea!

    Comment by pollyalid — February 8, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  7. I love the idea of motivating delinquent patrons in an alternative manner. Libraries in my county have Amnesty Week, but it’s not publicized and far from entertaining. I think it is a good idea to develop better relations with patrons, even delinquent ones.

    Comment by Kim — February 10, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

  8. This is a great idea. Although I may pick guitar hero over DDR but either would be SWEET!

    Comment by Tracy Sutherland — February 10, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  9. […] (via The Shifted Librarian) […]

    Pingback by A Directory Of Wonderful Things » Blog Archive » Library waives fees in exchange for Dance Dance Revolution play — February 18, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  10. […] เอ๊า! บรรณารักษ์ทั้งหลาย เตรียมสะโพกของคุณไว้ให้ดี… :D ที่มา: TelegraphNeighbor.com ผ่าน The Shifted Librarian อีกทีอ่านเพิ่มเติม: ว่าด้วยเรื่องค่าปรับ  Tagged with: fee, library fine […]

    Pingback by เต้นล้างค่าปรับ « iTeau’s Dirt — February 18, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  11. […] (via The Shifted Librarian) […]

    Pingback by Library waives fees in exchange for Dance Dance Revolution play | Eknowledge-base.NET — February 19, 2008 @ 2:21 am

  12. When I worked as an assistant librarian (in a very small library), we had a week where anyone could return any late book, no matter how late it was, and their fees would be forgiven. I watched dollars and cents be poured into the ‘library donation jar’ instead of going towards late fees. I think people felt guilty about their late books so they threw some money into the jar. It all ends up in the same place, but people are happier during “fee forgiveness week”. And we got our books back!

    Comment by Jen — February 20, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  13. […] Dance your fines away […]

    Pingback by Post #3 - Shift to Gaming « Blog Me a Story — February 23, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  14. […] I read on the Shifted Librarian’s blog (author: Jenny Levine) about a library that let young adults dance their fines away.  It was for a Patron Appreciation Day (which is a cute idea), but I thought Maggie or Children’s could have dance-offs to let “kids” pay off their fines.  The children could bring in cans of food too if they didn’t want to dance.  (http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2008/02/06/dance-your-fines-away.html) […]

    Pingback by Step #4: RSS « Lori Preston is ALL WIRED UP!!! — April 23, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

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