Small Arizona Library Receives $ 14,000 Overdue Items Back

Every single book in a public library is considered a public good, material that anyone can use. But what if those books or other materials are overdue, lost, or otherwise not returned?

Libraries have to get creative to get their materials back.

In three years, the Show Low Public Library in eastern Arizona has collected $ 14,817 in overdue materials.

For its efforts, it recently received the Defender Collection Award from Unique Management Services, a library material recovery and user communication company.

Here’s what you should know about the award and how Show Low’s library got their supplies back on shelves.

What is the Defender Collection Award?

The Defender Collection Award is a new award recognizing libraries across the country who are recovering high volumes of overdue materials. It underscores a library’s ability to protect public assets and ensure materials are available to future users.

Unique awarded the award to a small library and a large library. Show Low with around 11,000 residents was the winner of the small library. The Palo Alto City Library in California, collecting $ 97,662 in overdue materials, was the big library winner in a market of about 68,000 people.

The Pinetop-Lakeside Library, not far from Show Low, collected $ 6,139 of overdue materials and received an Honorable Mention.

What went missing from Show Low’s library?

According to Lisa Lewis, library services manager for the Show Low Public Library, the materials that were not returned included books, DVDs, audiobooks, Chromebooks, and other resources. Community members miss out when library materials are not available.

“We live in a small and rural community so we don’t have access to some of the things the big city has to offer,” said Lewis. “So there isn’t really much entertainment here. We don’t have any places for people to do things.” go and listen to music all the time. We have special occasions when this happens, but not regularly. We don’t have museums. We don’t have any places to take our kids like the Phoenix Children’s Museum.

“The library has become a community center for this area because we have all sorts of free programming materials, resources, and all that, so it’s extremely important that we give this community the best we can so that they have equal access . ” like someone in a bigger city. “

How were the materials returned?

Navajo County, where Show Low is located, uses Unique Management Services to track and collect unreturned books.

After a period of time, books and other resources that are not returned to the library are considered lost, Lewis said. The library notifies Unique, who has access to mailing addresses and other records stored in the library, and the company begins a collection process.

“So, like anything else, when you get a pick-up notice, you get something in the mail or sometimes you phone,” said Lewis.

While Unique’s services enabled the library’s great rejuvenation, Lewis said they prefer to make it easier for users to return items. One way the Show Low Public Library could do this was to remove overdue fees 2 and a half years ago.

“We want to remove the barriers,” said Lewis. “When you have a situation where families are below the poverty line and two dollars could make the difference between paying a few dollars more in your tank that day, or paying for your kid’s school that day, or whatever That kind of money can upset anyone.

“So by removing the stigma of overdue fees, we get a lot of material back and forth. I think this is directly related to the recovery of all of these materials because they know that not only are they returning these materials, if they are not being charged for the books they will not be responsible for any of these items. “

You can connect with Shanti Lerner, the Arizona Republic culture and outdoor reporter, via email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter.

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