Thousands of notices are being sent by the Neosho – Newton County Library, asking people to pay old library charges.
Ginny Ray, library director, said some patrons may not realize they still have outstanding fines due on their cards.
“Typically, we wait for them to come in the library and then we collect the fines at that time,” she said. “But, we’re making an effort to reach out to collect them.”
Ray said the library has used the Unique Management collection agency for several years to collect owed amounts of $25 and over, but there are thousands of accounts and thousands of dollars owed on smaller amounts.
“They actively go out and try to collect from those people; they encourage them to return overdue materials, and if there is no response they will eventually make a credit report,” she said.
Ray said the library board approved the use of Unique Management’s Small Balance program, which attempts to collect amounts between $10 and $24.99.
“We send letters; we encourage people to pay those overdue fees, but there’s no credit reporting.” She said, “We’re just trying to get some response and get people to pay off those charges.”
Since 2011, Ray said more than $11,000 is owed to the library in overdue charges.
“That revenue is part of our budget every year,” she said. “If we don’t collect as much as we hoped, then that just affects our revenue;” and she added, “ We definitely want to get our materials back.”
Ray encourages those who have outstanding charges to contact the library, return the materials, and pay the fees.
“We’ll happily set up a payment schedule so people would not have to necessarily pay it off all at once,” she said. “We just would encourage people to help us out and pay those charges.”
Ray also hopes that implementing the program will encourage patrons to pay those overdue charge amounts in a timely fashion in the future; explaining there is a $3 charge for using the collection agency, and paying off those amounts within 30 days will prevent that extra charge.
Patrons can access their library card information online at: neosholibrary.org. Ray said you can also access your account through the library’s Facebook page or a free app called BookMyne. Call 451-4231 or 776-2705 for more information about any outstanding charges on your account.