We're almost halfway through 2013, which means we've now
been reading down fines for almost six months. At the Patterson Park branch,
Read Down Fines started to take off after I visited a parents' night at a
nearby elementary school. I asked everyone who passed by my table if they had a
library card, and if they did, I told them about Read Down Fines. The program
was enthusiastically embraced by parents, including one father who told his son
that he had better start reading, since he didn't have $90 lying around to pay
for lost books.
The very next day, several kids, prompted by their parents
and their own desire to check out books from the library again, came to the
library to start reading down their fines. As soon as one child started
reading, another would come up to my desk, ask what was happening, and then ask
to start reading down their own fines.
Since the program started, several
children have successfully earned enough Pratt Bucks to start using their
library cards again, and even more are still working on reading their fines
away. Grownups started asking about Read Down Fines, too. Most were asking for
their kids, but one sad 18 year old lamented that she was too old to
participate. Sorry, grownups! You still have to pay off your fines the old
But for kids and teens ages 13-17, now that Summer Reading
is here, there's a new way to read down your fines! They can still read down
your fines by coming to the library and reading (a child earns one Pratt Buck
for every 15 minutes of reading, and a teen earns one for every 30 minutes).
During Summer Reading, kids and teens can also earn one Pratt Buck for every
book or hour read at home and reported on his or her reading log. As if Summer
Reading weren't fun enough already.
So this summer, when you sign up for Summer
Reading, make sure to ask about Read Down Fines. You could start the new school
year with a clean slate.