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Overdue, lost DVDs at Flower Memorial Library increase in 2012

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DVD checkouts at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library were 101 percent higher in 2012 than in 2011.

And from July to December last year, there were 174 percent more checkouts than there were from January to June.

However, 80 DVDs were marked lost last year, and 61 have been overdue for a month or longer, library Director Barbara J. Wheeler said Tuesday at the library board of trustees meeting. Because much of the library’s budget is used to buy new titles, some of the missing DVDs may not be replaced.

The library has $2,500 allocated by the city to spend on the adult collection’s DVD titles. About $200 can be spent per month, according to the report Mrs. Wheeler passed out to the trustees.

“We have discovered some titles have a higher likelihood of being checked out and never returned,” the written report said.

Titles that have been purchased twice likely will not be replaced again. “We don’t have a lot of money to spend on repurchases,” Mrs. Wheeler said.

Library officials also are hesitant to purchase expensive Blu-ray discs.

Trustee Stephen W. Gebo said that if patrons were not returning the DVDs, which had the $1 rental fee removed in July, it should be considered theft.

“We have talked in the past about taking this to small-claims court,” he said. “If you have a bunch of our ‘Star Wars,’ that’s not forgetting. That person’s a thief.”

Overdue fines are a dollar a day for DVDs, but are capped at $5. However, board President Constance A. Holberg wondered whether patrons know about the fine cap.

She suggested having some sort of amnesty period to see whether patrons would return overdue DVDs and books if they didn’t have to worry about fines.

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