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abctriplets
01-26-2009, 12:40 AM
Sat Jan 24, 2:41 pm ET

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa An Iowa woman has been arrested because she failed to return a library book.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge. She is accused of keeping "The Freedom Writers Diary," which she checked out from the public library in nearby Jesup in April. Police say the book which is about a high school teacher's effort to inspire students to write is valued at $13.95.

Court records show library employees tried repeatedly to contact Koontz by phone and mail. A police officer even visited her home last September.
Officials at the Buchanan County jail say Koontz was released after posting $250 bond. No telephone listing for Koontz could be found in the Independence area.

nevada
01-26-2009, 12:44 AM
She refused to return the book. it basically became, for her, a game of neener neener neener you can't make me give it back. nope. but they can send you to prison.

ETA this is a case of mistaken identity on my part. I was thinking of another woman who was arrested for refusing to return two books. see my message below for the link to her arrest. my apologies

Kate Thornton
01-26-2009, 06:58 PM
When I worked in a library, we charged people for books they didn't return. I don't think we ever charged anyone with theft, although we had quite a few vandalism charges when people decided to cut out pictures, etc.

I found that reminding people in person about the charges was usually enough to get the price of the book plus a service charge. I don't think we would ever have filed theft charges over a $13.95 popular book (different story perhaps for the Audubon print collections or other expensive books, although really expensive books were reference and not circulating.)

And sending the cops for one $13.95 book? Uh, not unless this patron had a history of keeping and not paying for books. The attitude of the patron would not affect the decision to prosecute; the value of the item might.

Note: I worked in a large public library in a moderately-sized city. A small-town burg might have a totally different set of priorities in its library...

Fullback
01-26-2009, 07:06 PM
I've bought a few books that were so bad, I think the police could have charged the author with fraud. :) Have you ever wished that you could get your money back from a defective book?

James81
01-26-2009, 07:07 PM
She refused to return the book. it basically became, for her, a game of neener neener neener you can't make me give it back. nope. but they can send you to prison.

Was it really a game to her?

or was it a case of "damn, they called again, I really need to return that book" and then she just forgot.

I mean, returning books to the library isn't usually among my top ten list of urgent things to do.

Pamster
01-26-2009, 07:46 PM
I just renew them and read them and then give them back, unless its a reference book you have to use there in the library. Then the book is returned before I ever leave the library, they don't let reference books out of the library. :)

RickN
01-26-2009, 07:50 PM
Was it really a game to her?

or was it a case of "damn, they called again, I really need to return that book" and then she just forgot.

I mean, returning books to the library isn't usually among my top ten list of urgent things to do.

For 9 months?

We're talking Jesup, Iowa -- not driving cross-country. I'm also sure the Post office would deliver a $3 media mail package to the library (in case driving cross-Jesup IS like driving cross-country).

tehuti88
01-26-2009, 08:11 PM
This is why I buy books, not use the library. :D

Okay, not the only reason. But anyway. My memory is lousy but not THAT lousy. Good on them for going after her. She should've just returned the thing. I doubt one can forget that easily when they get a COP coming to the door. If it isn't a high priority for one to return a book to the library, then they should not be using the library. You enter a sort of contract when you sign the book out, after all. This would be like saying, "Well, it's not a high priority of mine to pay the electric bill..."

OT, it's a recurring dream of mine where I suddenly realize I have this library book I checked out like MONTHS or YEARS ago and completely forgot about! o_o But then again, I also keep dreaming about having a pet hamster that I've forgotten about for months.

abctriplets
01-26-2009, 08:12 PM
For 9 months?

We're talking Jesup, Iowa -- not driving cross-country. I'm also sure the Post office would deliver a $3 media mail package to the library (in case driving cross-Jesup IS like driving cross-country).

I just keep renewing mine. I've had a stack of research books out for more than a year now....

semilargeintestine
01-26-2009, 09:09 PM
For 9 months?

We're talking Jesup, Iowa -- not driving cross-country. I'm also sure the Post office would deliver a $3 media mail package to the library (in case driving cross-Jesup IS like driving cross-country).

I got Netflix, and my first movie came shortly after signing up. I had that movie for 4 and a half months before I finally canceled my Netflix. The envelope was ripped, and I didn't have a bubble envelope or anything, so returning it required me to go to the post office. Three months later after a dozen emails, I finally got around to it. It wasn't a game or something I did intentionally, I just forgot.

Mythical Tiger
01-27-2009, 04:48 PM
Wow. That is kinda of stupid to get arrested for.

redpbass
01-27-2009, 05:14 PM
OT, it's a recurring dream of mine where I suddenly realize I have this library book I checked out like MONTHS or YEARS ago and completely forgot about! o_o But then again, I also keep dreaming about having a pet hamster that I've forgotten about for months.

I have recurring dreams about getting a second job that I forget about for weeks :p

But anyway, nine months is a long time to keep forgetting something like that. I think the longest I've ever gone was two weeks, and the $30 fee for paying my bill late was plenty of punishment :p I can understand a few days, a few weeks, maybe a month at most. But nine months?

semilargeintestine
01-27-2009, 05:30 PM
See my above post. It happens.

nevada
01-27-2009, 07:49 PM
Was it really a game to her?

or was it a case of "damn, they called again, I really need to return that book" and then she just forgot.

I mean, returning books to the library isn't usually among my top ten list of urgent things to do.

Yes it was. there have been several articles about this before, im trying to find them but we talked about it on an author's board (which is non-archiving :( ) and she's made statements that she's not returning the book, the police have been involved with it before. So yeah this is much more than forgetting to return a book. She was making some sort of statement, and now she has an arrest record. That's really gonna help her in life.

By the way, the worst one-time library fine I have had is $91 dollars.

ETA here's an article with a bit more detail but im still trying to find an older article about it. of course my google-fu has deserted me.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090123/NEWS/90123009

ETA 2. I was totally and completely wrong. OMG. lol I was thinking of a different woman who had two books out and ignored a court citation ordering her to return them. She got arrested. DUh me. here's the link for that story.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0821081books1.html

Red-Green
01-27-2009, 08:42 PM
I confess: I checked out a library book the summer before I went to college. I accidentally packed it and took it to college. 21 years later, I still have the fricking book, but the library has never had me arrested. Now, I feel guilty.

nevada
01-27-2009, 09:11 PM
I've bought a few books that were so bad, I think the police could have charged the author with fraud. :) Have you ever wished that you could get your money back from a defective book?

I have. I bought a book, a two book reissue from my fav author. I read the first one, then promptly took it back to the store for a refund. when the girl asked me why i wanted a refund, i told her it sucked. no problem. i got my refund.

abctriplets
01-27-2009, 10:34 PM
I confess: I checked out a library book the summer before I went to college. I accidentally packed it and took it to college. 21 years later, I still have the fricking book, but the library has never had me arrested. Now, I feel guilty.

Authorities notified.