Friday, September 02, 2016

Donate Canned/Boxed Food, Get Fines Waived During September at Jefferson County Public Libraries

If you need a new library card or owe money on overdue books, DVDs, and other items, September is the time to take advantage of two special library promotions available in Birmingham and all of Jefferson County. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is a member of the Public Libraries in Jefferson County (PLJC), which is hosting its seventh annual Food for Fines and September Library Card Swap.

The Food for Fines program begins Thursday, September 1, 2016, and lasts until September 30, 2016, in conjunction with PLJC's September library card campaign. Patrons who owe fines will have $1 in fines waived for each food item donated, up to a maximum of $10 per patron. The amount waived must apply to fines only (not replacement costs).

The food drive is open to anyone, even if they do not have overdue materials. “Our goal is to encourage users to return overdue materials while also giving back to our communities,” said Patricia Ryan, executive director of the Public Libraries in Jefferson County.

The effort comes at a time when area food banks and pantries are running low on donations. BPL and PLJC hope this campaign will be the boost several nonprofit food organizations need as they approach the fall holidays. The 40 public libraries in Birmingham and elsewhere in Jefferson County plan to donate goods to nonprofit food banks including United Way Food Bank, Magic City Harvest, and Greater Urban Ministries. Individual libraries may also donate the items to a local church or charity of their choice.

Over 21,000 cans/items were collected for area food banks each of the last two years. There must be a legible expiration date visible on the can or box, and all items must be donated before the expiration date in order to be accepted. BPL and PLJC can accept boxed and canned foods.

Food for Fines is held in conjunction with the annual National Library Card Sign-Up Month in September, in which cardholders can trade in their old wallet library card for a keychain library card or get the old one replaced for a new library card at no charge, with the usual $3 replacement fee waived.

Under the library card swap program, patrons can print out a coupon allowing them to see fees waived for a replacement card. The coupon is available at this link:

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