Around Town | February 25, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 25, 2011

Around Town

BOOK POLICE ... Library delinquents in Palo Alto have a new reason to feel anxious. The city's library officials are turning to a collection agency to track down chronic offenders and get them to pay their dues. The company, Unique Management, Inc., specializes in library collections and is expected to help the city get back at least a part of the six-figure sum that the library is owed in fines for unreturned materials. A 2007 audit of the library system found that customers owe the city more than $300,000 in library fines. "The last thing I want to do is turn somebody over to a credit reporting agency, but we feel it's only fair to Palo Alto taxpayers to take this additional step to retrieve public money," Library Services Manager Rose Sebastian said in a statement. The library already offers several services to encourage residents to avoid late fees or, if those don't work, to pay them within a reasonable timeframe. Customers can sign up to receive e-mail notices just before the items are due, and they can establish payment plans with the libraries. Those who do neither and choose not to pay their fines for more than eight weeks would be turned over to the new collector. In addition to the late fees, the delinquents will be hit with a non-negotiable collection fee of $10.

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