Massachusetts Library Will Excuse Overdue Book Charges In Exchange For Cat Photos

Lost a library book? It doesn’t have to be a “cat-tastrophe.” At least not during the month of March in Worcester, Mass. The Worcester County Public Library will scratch certain fees off a book borrower’s record in exchange for a picture of the person’s cat — or any cat, for that matter. The goal is to encourage people to read and visit the library, even if they owe money for a lost or damaged book. Jason Homer, Executive Director of the Worcester County Public Library, says people are struggling, and paying $30 for a late or damaged book and buying $30 worth of groceries are two different things. “People have priorities, so we want to come to them with kindness and forgiveness and say, ‘Just be part of our community.’” The program is called Feline Fee Forgiveness and it’s part of the library’s month-long “March Meowness” event. It aims to reduce barriers to returning to the library, regardless of a person’s circumstances. There are a significant amount of studies that have been performed that have shown that libraries don’t get books back by imposing fines. Homer is hoping that his method of getting books and patrons back will be a big success.