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June 29, 2010 > 'Food for Fines' amnesty and food drive

'Food for Fines' amnesty and food drive

Submitted By Hayward Public Library

From Saturday, July 10 to Saturday, July 24 only, Hayward Public Library is offering a one-time amnesty program, "Food for Fines," in which Library customers may bring in food donations to clear overdue fines while helping the hungry in the community.

During the amnesty, each food item donated can be used to "pay" for $1 in library overdue fines, up to a maximum of $25 cleared per card. All donated food will be given to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

A valid Hayward Public Library card must be presented at the time of the donation. Donations can only be accepted in person during normal Library operating hours. Food donations will only apply towards overdue fines and exclude lost item fees, damaged item fees, replacement library card fees and inter-library loan (LINK+) fees.

Donations from Library members with accounts in good standing and members of the public will also be accepted.

Donated food items must be unopened and sealed in original packaging. Homemade items, opened or re-packaged items, perishables and items packed in glass cannot be accepted.

The most needed food items are canned vegetables and fruits, canned meats and fish, pasta and rice, tomato sauce, dry and canned beans, peanut butter, healthy snacks (granola bars, raisins, pretzels), canned soup (low-salt), oatmeal, low-sugar cereal, dry milk and fortified soy milk.

Food for Fines is the first library fines amnesty in Hayward in 25 years. The goals are to remove economic barriers to library use, encourage lapsed library customers to return to the library and to provide an alternative way of settling overdue fines while giving back to the community. One of the driving factors behind the current amnesty is that one in five library cardholders (about 20,000 people) currently has excessive fines of $20 or more on account and are blocked from further borrowing. The reasons why people accrue overdue fines to the point of losing their library borrowing privileges vary from person to person but a common reason is that the needs and expectations of today's customers have changed significantly over the past several years - in large part due to changing experiences in retail and online environments. For example, popular media rental companies such as Netflix have offered DVDs with no time limits and no overdue fees for nearly a decade.

The Food for Fines amnesty program coincides with the official roll-out of a new "Fines-Free Library Loan Program," the first library service of its kind in the nation. It has been in beta testing since January and will be officially launched to the public on July 10. Customers who visit the Library during the Food for Fines amnesty will be provided information about the new "Fines-Free" alternative to avoid due dates and overdue fines and how to opt-in to the new service online.

For more information, visit or call the Main Library (510-293-8685) or Weekes Branch (510-782-2155). Library hours are Monday to Wednesday (11a.m. - 8p.m.) and Thursday to Saturday (10a.m. - 5p.m.).

Food for Fines
July 10-24

Hayward Main Library
835 C St (between Mission Blvd and Watkins St)
(510) 293 8685

Weekes Branch Library
27300 Patrick Ave (at Tennyson Rd)
(510) 782 2155


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