San Jose Library patrons collectively owe more than $6.8 million in late fees, according to the city. The past-due amount is divided among 187,000 accounts—that’s 39 percent of all cardholders. And children account for more than $1 million of that debt.
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio wants to give those book-borrowing scofflaws a fresh start. He’s asking the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday to consider a two-week amnesty in hopes of luring them back.
“Many of these youths need the resources the library provides,” he wrote in his proposal, “particularly in the summer months.”
Similar debt amnesties have helped other cities get books back on the shelves and patrons back in the libraries.
Chicago’s public library system retrieved more than 100,000 overdue items in the course of a three-week amnesty in 2012. The value of the items—$2 million—reportedly outnumbered the $641,820 in fines. Meanwhile, 40,000 patrons got their library cards re-instituted.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the city offered another three-week window last month. The program, called "Welcome Home," includes humorous "wanted" posters and videos of librarians begging patrons to bring back overdue materials.
“Historically, the value of the returned materials during an amnesty program outweighs the late fees,” Oliverio said.
- San Jose police will lead a study session on human trafficking the afternoon of March 14. “While human trafficking and prostitution have always been priority issues,” police Chief Eddie Garcia wrote, “the police department and city leaders have recently received an increase in complaints from residents and businesses impacted by street-level human trafficking and prostitution which is prompting the need for this study session.”
- Also coming up: an April 18 study session on a regional minimum wage increase.
- A San Jose resident is imploring the city to keep police disciplinary sessions private. In a letter to the public record, Sue Cox defends Officer Phil White, who got fired and then reinstated after a threatening Twitter tirade directed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “Yes, I agree it was poor judgment for a public official and a reprimand would have been in order,” she wrote. “Are we firing policemen now because of poor judgment of words, based on their right to express themselves, that did not harm anyone? This whole incident was blown out of proportion BY THE PRESS. Things are reported in a way that is incendiary, not in specific context.”
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260