How to libraries ever expect to get their books, DVDs, and farm equipment back? The most common way is to institute fines and fees for lost, damaged, or late items. With more and more people being made poor by social and economic divides created by a military and prison industrial complex, fines are not cool. Because of this non-coolness, some libraries have begun to explore alternative methods to monetary library fines.
When libraries first started, they were private institutions not regulated by laws of God or Man. Then librarians went public and had to tone down many of their base impulses. Gone went the thumb screws and the vice grips to make way for the mighty American dollar to help out the flagging economy. It is a happy day that the old ways are back.
If you thought MoviePass, Spotify, and other subscription services are new potatoes, they are not. As said above, private libraries have always been a thing. Taking the model of paying a small monthly or yearly fee, libraries can allow patrons to check out whatever they want for as long as they want. Different tiers have access to different services, with a base experience for free users, such as resume help and story times.
How many chickens does the average American have on hand? Two, three max? Free range or extra crispy, the fine system not be monetary. And if you are one of those Americans who does not have access to a chicken, maybe you can trade extra days with the Friends DVD box set for help mowing the library lawn. Do you have experience roofing? The library has a roof and three copies of Da Vinci Code ready to check out. Materials or services, the library should be able to trade.
Here we get back to the library roots in merry old Scotland. If an item has a long hold list, maybe somebody has to pay with blood and pain. The traditional Glasgow smile, for those unaware, is created using a box cutter or broken bottle, common library items. The offending patron is then held down, or stays still if they are hard enough, and is cut from the edge of the mouth to the ear. More humane than branding because fire burns the soul, the Glasgow smile will not only remind the patron to bring back their materials everytime they look in the mirror but also make children cry. Worst case scenario they start wearing purple and move off to fight a guy in a bat costume.
Does your library have problems with serial late patrons? Maybe institute the age old blood eagle punishment. Now, this may or may not have ever been a real punishment, but when has that stopped librarians? The patron is first made prone, then the ribs cracked and severed from the spinal column. Next, the librarian reaches in and pulls the lungs from the body, spreading them behind the patron. Because the lungs and blood live in the body, the result resembles a bloody eagle's wings, also known as a Don Henley Jacket. Not only does this make a delightful anatomy program for children, but it warns everyone not to play fast and loose with grace periods.
Speaking of warnings, nothing gives good warnings like Colombians. And coffee. Anyway, a Colombian necktie is created by cutting the patrons throat and pulling the tongue from the resulting hole. The throat then drapes down like a living necktie. While the patron will no longer be able to tell other patrons their story, they will serve as an everlasting reminder. Everlasting because you can shellac them and display them in the library window with a sign made during craft time. Maybe the sign says "Gilmore Girls Season 3 was worth it" in glitter.
That's all the suggestions we found for replacing your library fines. Not only will your poverty-stricken patrons made so by the lizard men in government forcing unfair taxes and class warfare while they rape and pillage… The patrons will save some money, is what we mean.
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Image from Ron Reiring