Massachusetts Library Uses Local Police Officers to Collect Overdue Books

While difficult financial times are forcing cities all over the nation to layoff law enforcement officers, police in a small Massachusetts town apparently have nothing else better to do than attempt to collect overdue books for the local library.

Library officials and police officers from small Charlton, Mass. came under fire this week after an officer knocked on the door of Shannon Benoit to discuss overdue library books. Benoit said the action was overboard and upset her 5-year-old daughter.

Laughably, even the officer who stopped by the Benoit’s house was less than pleased.

“Nobody wanted to, on this end to get involved in it,” said Charlton Police Sergeant Dan Dowd. “But the library contacted us, and the chief delegated, and apparently I was one of the low men on the totem pole.”

After the outcry, library officials defended the action saying along with $30 in books due in October 2010, there was an outstanding and more expensive $100 audiobook loaned out to the family in 2009 that had never been returned.

Along with the Benoit’s, another 12 addresses in the town were set to receive visits. The amount of overdue materials from the 13? A measly $2,634.

The visit did work, and the library has all the overdue materials from the Benoit’s. But is sending out law enforcement really the best way to go about the situation?

Posted by Brent Dirks on Jan 04, 2012

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