The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) is giving its customers a second chance in the form of a ''conditional'' library card, which will restore Library privileges for cardholders who are blocked due to unpaid extended use fees. The new card will be offered beginning Thursday, February 27.
''In looking for a way to connect our blocked cardholders with a solution, we created the conditional card so that customers can still access our services, and the Library can be fiscally responsible in collecting fines and fees accrued,'' said Library Executive Director Heidi Daniel.
The conditional card applies to customers who owe between $10 and $300 in unpaid fines and fees; a Library cardholder is blocked from borrowing and computer privileges after accruing $10 in extended use fees.
''We feel a responsibility to collect these fees,'' Ms. Daniel notes, ''but we also realize that there are many customers who have good intentions and want to do the right thing, but find themselves in human situations where they are unable to pay off their fees in total. We know that life happens and we are not unsympathetic to that; we wanted to find a solution that would enable them to again use the Library.''
She continues, ''We realize, for example, that someone who is searching for a job may need to have their borrowing privileges restored in order to use Library computers to search for jobs, file job applications, or submit a resume.''
''So in order to create a win-win situation of finding a way to say ''yes'' to our customers and also say ''yes'' to our fiscal responsibilities, we created the conditional card,'' she adds.
''The idea for the new card grew from community conversations as we heard that people wanted the Library to remove barriers to service where possible. We took these conversations seriously and discussions arose from the community input, which resulted in this new card,'' said Janet Loew, Communications and Public Relations Director.
Under this conditional card, the cardholder must make an initial payment of $5 or 10% of the total amount owed, if less than $50, and at least 10% of the total balance must be paid within the first 60 days. The full balance is due within two years. Under this card, a customer may borrow up to 10 items. A parent may apply for conditional cards for multiple children, being aware that the same conditions apply for each card.
Library users can inquire about the conditional card at any of the 15 PLYMC libraries throughout Mahoning County.