Library late fees, $10 penalties to be referred to collection agency beginning in May

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The new policy will apply to books and other items as well. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Rochester's Public Library director announced today that the city library has partnered with a collection agency to enhance its efforts to collect overdue items and fines.

Under the new policy, which is expected to start next month, the library will use a collection agency to help encourage patrons with more than $75 worth of overdue materials to return them. The cost of this service will be passed on to each patron whose account will be handled by the collection agency, Unique Management.

"This policy was developed with fairness to all library patrons in mind, and I expect this will only impact a very small number of library users," library director Brian Sylvester said. "When materials aren't returned, they're not available for others to borrow and in most cases requires us to use money that would otherwise be spent on new items to instead be used to replace missing ones."

The library will continue to notify patrons that their materials are overdue and send courtesy notices about items that will soon be due, and patrons will have ample time before their accounts are turned over to collections.

Accounts owing $75 or more may be referred to collections, and will have an additional $10 charge added to their account. When an account is referred to collections, the account holder or adult who signed for the account on behalf of a child or organization will be contacted by Unique Management and will be held responsible for fines and fees.

To maintain patrons' privacy, Unique Management will not be provided with any identifying information about the items borrowed.

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