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Failure to return library books now considered theft

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 30 2013 08:46:43 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 09:49:58 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Texas law is getting tougher on people who don't bring back their library books on time.

The state law took effect in September and it defines the failure to return books as theft. That could cost offenders up to a $100 fine per offense.

"I think that the main problem is that you check it out and then you forget about it and it winds up on the bookshelf it winds up in your car or under your bed and you just forget that you have it," said Tremain Jackson, south branch manager of the Abilene Public Library.

Unreturned books have always been an issue at libraries.

"I think unreturned library books no matter what city or state that you live in is a definite problem," Jackson said.  

Until this year library staff in Texas dealt with the problem themselves.

"Books are $.10 today and then DVDs and things like that are a dollar it goes up to a maximum of five dollars and then it goes on your record as being lost," said Information Services Manager at Abilene Public Library Janis Test.  

Abilene librarians say so far they don't enforce theft charges for unreturned books.

"There are some patrons that come in here that are afraid of that hey I returned the book late and you're going to call the cops on me we haven't gone to those extremes yet," said Jackson.

"We've chosen not to handle it that way because like I said 99% of our folks make an effort to get their materials back or deal with it if they do honestly become lost because things happen in life and we try to take that into consideration," Test agreed.