After Jan. 1 Westchester Public Library patrons will get to take home more
books, DVDs, CDs, audio books and electronic games at one time, and some
loan periods will be extended.
The current item-limits at check-out were increased Thursday by the Library
Board after an extended discussion.
The current item limit for general hardcover and paperback books is 10 but
will be increased to 15. New hardcover/paperbacks and all DVDs will increase
from four to five, and CDs/audio books from six to 10. In addition, DVDs and
fiction videotapes will be on loan for five days instead of three.
Patrons also will be able to check out two electronic games, toys and board
games instead of one.
WPL director Phil Baugher had proposed both increasing the lending limits
and lowering some daily fines for overdue materials from $1 to 25 cents, but
the board opted not to make the latter change at this time.
The maximum fine per item was reduced from $10 to $5 for DVDs, nonfiction
videotapes and fiction videotapes. If the material isn’t returned, a
replacement cost can be assessed.
Circulation at WPL’s Thomas and Hageman libraries has been dropping over
recent months. Baugher said, “My objective is to get materials in the hands
of people so they have access to them. I want everything off the bloody
shelves all the time.”
Reducing the fines plays a part, he noted, because if one family member has
them, that can block other family members from circulation privileges. In
hard economic times, increasing item limits and reducing fines is one way
WPL can serve its patrons, Baugher added.
He distributed a comparison of 2010 overdue fees accrued by patrons and the
actual fines collected. One hundred percent of the $1,200 in fines for
fiction videotapes was received but only half the $26,300 for general
hardcover/paperbacks. In all WPL collected $52,543 in fines of the $78,433
Board member Nick Tilden said the proposed reduction in daily fines carries
a risk, but the overall goal of the changes is to encourage patrons to make
additional visits to the library and increase circulation. Member Drew Rhed
countered there isn’t an incentive to return materials on time if the fines
are so low, and keeping materials out longer decreases the opportunity for
other patrons to use them.
Baugher said that might happen, but patrons also might check out older
titles they otherwise wouldn’t have considered.
Continuing vandalism at the Library Service Center, even in the newly
remodeled $33,900 main restrooms, has prompted Baugher to require groups
using the LSC meeting room to check out a restroom key and microphones for
the meeting-room sound system prior to each use.
Elaine Estridge, president of the Duneland Aglow Lighthouse group that meets
at the LSC, told the Library Board they are thankful for the fine meeting
space but recently had 30 people attending and no working restrooms or good
microphone. Baugher said while the main restrooms were still being
remodeled, someone spread liquid soap and urine in the lower-level restrooms
so he had them closed so no injuries would occur until they were cleaned.
In addition to the key policy, Baugher said a proposal is being prepared to
install security cameras throughout the LSC and at all entrances so vandals
can be identified and prosecuted.
He’s also meeting with officials from the Adult Learning Center housed in
the LSC about the problems that have occurred there, and to warn them that
students at the center must smoke in designated areas only and not at the
New tables have been ordered for the room where the Bits and Bytes computer
classes are conducted to allow more students to participate, perhaps up to
24 instead of the current 15. Additional laptops for student use also were
ordered. A third weekly one-on-one open computer help session has been
The recent Friends of the Library book sale allowed the group to donate
$5,000 to the WPL gift fund. The Kiwanis Club also donated $500 to the
The winners of WPL’s 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest were announced, and
Baugher said it hopes to become an annual event. The entrants were asked to
write, in overblown prose, the first sentence of a novel they’d author.
Grand prize winner was Kevin Nevers; in the Mystery category, Jill Long;
Science/Fiction, Lukas Needham; General, Annette Hansen; Romance, Gloria
Bolduc; Western, Mike Thanos; Horror, Pippa Miskus; and Action/Aventure,
Next month’s Library Board meeting will be Dec. 22 at the WPL-operated
Westchester Township History Museum to honor retiring curator and library
assistant director Jane Walsh-Brown.