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Massena Public Library offering amnesty for overdue books, outstanding fines

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MASSENA - Anyone who has avoided the Massena Public Library because they have overdue books or fines can breathe a little easier this week.

National Library Week runs until Saturday, and the library is offering amnesty to those with outstanding fines. Patrons are asked to bring in a canned or non-perishable food item that will be distributed to local food banks.

Patrons with overdue fines will have their fines forgiven if they return all library items that are overdue. Anyone who has already returned materials, but still owes fines, can also be forgiven if they request amnesty during the week.

Library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer said Amnesty Week has paid off dividends when they’ve offered it each year.

“If they come back with a non-perishable foot item, we take the charges off their account. It really does help in getting return users who may not be able to afford to come back to the library. Their card is blocked after $5 of charges,” she said. “It allows us to welcome back patrons who haven’t been able to check out materials and it creates interest for new people coming into the library. We’re hoping to bring back patrons, people who have made our material on the long term.”

One patron who had more than $6 in outstanding fines was cleared on Monday and can now enjoy the library’s benefits again, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said. Amnesty is valid for any material checked out from the library.

“We’ll turn up some things that have been out for a long time. DVDs are the big ones. They can only take them out for a week. Sometimes people don’t realize they still have them and it gets lost in their DVD collection. They can easily become part of the home collection,” she said.

Also as part of National Library Week, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said they’ll be announcing their Readers of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. This year’s winners are Francis and Elaine McDonald as Readers of the Year and Bruce Podgurski as Volunteer of the Year.

“It’s the week to be able to call them out and congratulate them and let them know how much they mean to us,” she said.

The official presentation will be held at 3 p.m. April 25 in the Warren Room, and the awards are well-deserved, according to the library director.

“The McDonalds are absolutely terrific readers. They’ve donated books to the library book adoption program. They helped out during the Civil War exhibit. Mr. McDonald lent us books from his personal collection for display,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

Although the library has many volunteers, she said Mr. Podgurski stood out as this year’s selection for Volunteer of the Year.

“Over the year people do a lot of volunteering. Bruce has been great decorating the library,” she said.

The library will also be holding a National Library Week raffle this week for two baskets - one a children’s basket and the other an adult’s basket. They’re filled with “all kinds of books,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

Tickets are $2 for one or $5 for three, and the drawing will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Although not part of National Library, the Massena Elks Lodge, 20 Bowers St., is holding an Easter brunch Sunday, with proceeds benefiting the library.

“The Elks Club informed up they have an annual Easter brunch and Easter egg hunt for children. They said they would like to split the profits with the library,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

The brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the menu includes scrambled eggs (plain or western style), French toast, home fries, bacon, sausage, ham, hash, potato and assorted pastries for $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under.

The Easter Bunny will be also be there to hand out candy.

“This is wonderful. I imagine they’re going to get a very good turnout,” she said.

The Friends of the Library will be helping celebrate National Library Week next week with a spring sale. The members preview sale will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 24, and the regular sale runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25-26.

The sale will offer new selections in all areas, including books and DVDs, and individuals can join the Friends of the Library on the day of the preview sale for $5.

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