Some N.J. libraries accept food donations instead of fines

Many libraries in New Jersey are accepting donations of food in lieu of fines for overdue books.Individual libraries participating in the “food-for-fines” program select certain times of the year to forgive fines for overdue materials in exchange for food  that they then give to food pantries.Karen Kleppe Lembo, director of the Caldwell Public Library, said it’s a good way to help people in need and a good way for libraries to get back missing materials.”It’s usually library books and it’s primarily childrens’ books. But we will have adults who are a little embarrassed that they took something out, maybe it was a couple months ago, and it’s sitting on a coffee table,” said Lembo. “No it’s not their personal book. It’s a library book and so it will come back.”Evan Davis, the assistant director of the Edison Public Library, said the program is very successful.”We get a lot of our books back, things that are overdue, things that have been out for a long time. So it’s a good way to get our materials returned,” Davis said. “It’s nice because it’s not just for the library, but it’s also for the community and for people who are in need.”Not every library offers the program. Some that do, including Edison, are holding “food-for-fines” drives during the holiday season.

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