Not Done With That ‘Oregon Trail’ CD-ROM? Phoenix Library Could Use The $4.3M In Late Fees

Are you really ever going to fire up your old VHS and watch those videos you borrowed from the Phoenix Library? No? Then would you possibly mind forking over the cash to cover the late fee? See, the library system has totted up the costs related to overdue materials like books, CDs, videos and yes, cassettes and says its borrowers owe it about $4.3 million in fees. Plenty of that stuff won’t be able to be replaced, that’s how long it’s been since they were originally checked out.

In any case, the library would probably prefer to have the cash instead of that old CD-ROM copy of Oregon Trail anyway, fun though that game may be. The Arizona Republic says the total includes money owed both to the library and a collection agency that is on the case.

Plenty of the items were simply forgotten, but other sneaky library patrons likely deliberately hung on to their ill-gotten gains. The library has 17 branches and getting back some of its 1.8 million items in that collection isn’t always easy.

In order to combat the problem of overdue fees and errant items, the library has had to change up some of its policies, like the amount of times an item can be renewed.

“Our big message to people is bring the stuff back,” said the Phoenix Public Library’s community relations manager. “Even if people pay us for the item they’ve lost, that doesn’t mean we can replace it. We may not be able to because it may no longer be available.”

If you’ve ever felt the guilt of a monstrously overdue book staring you in the face, you’re not alone, she adds. Plenty of people are embarrassed and feel silly about forgetting to bring an item back, but seriously, just do it.

In a 10-year span going back to July 1, 2002, users checked out 156 million items. And as of a few weeks ago, 40,500 of those items have never come back. If a customer racks up more than $75 in fees, their case is sent to a collection agency, which could come as a surprise to anyone who sees their credit rating suffer because of it.

So even though you think no one else wants to hear the sweet stylings of En Vogue on cassette, just bring the tape back and fork over the dough, lest your credit reputation suffer for it.

Phoenix Public Library missing 40,000 overdue items [Arizona Republic]