A farewell to LA County library fines

By Paul Birchall

How exciting! Have you heard? Avalon Library (and all LA County Libraries) are going Fine Free! That means we will no longer be charging Overdue Fines for late books. And if you’ve been afraid to come into the library because you owe fines, all you have to do is come on in, swan up to the checkout desk, and let us know that you’re here to have your fines forgiven. We’ll wipe all your Overdue fines and you can use your library card as it was intended – to take out movies and books and use our online resources such as Libby, Overdrive, and Kanopy!

Fees will still apply for lost and heavily damaged books and materials, of course, but if you’ve been holding onto something because you’re worried about being fined when you return it, just bring it back and we will wipe your record as clean as a baby’s face.

I was at the dentist some years ago (long before I was a librarian for LA County, let alone Avalon), and, while I was getting a root canal, the dentist was telling me how she was scared of the library because she owed so much in fines. “I can’t go in there because I owe so much money!” she said.

I wanted to reply, “You should just have talked to someone there. Everyone wants to help you remain a library customer and fines should never be used as a punishment to keep you out of the library!” However, my mouth was filled with cotton and metal tools, so all I was able to say was “oog, oog, oog, gaaah!”

But now I can say it: Fines don’t actually raise that much money for the library, and they often do have the effect of making someone dislike using us. So now we’re saying, come on back! Don’t let fines keep you from using Avalon Library. We’ll Amnesty those suckers away for you!

I have just finished performing a brief role in the wonderful production on the stage of the Casino, and it got me to thinking about all the rare books about the Casino that we have here in the library’s Catalina Collection. Of course, we have the current go to book on the subject of the Casino’s construction, David M. Renton and Kathryn E. Renton’s “The Life and Legacy of D. M. Renton,” which is a wide ranging opus on Avalon history.

But we’re also proud to possess a legacy copy of local historian (and frequent library user) Patricia Anne Moore’s “The Casino,” which offers a human dimension about the beautiful landmark. I really enjoyed reading Moore’s description of golden era theater manager Tommy Clements’ first words upon seeing the Casino from the boat – “This is grandeur!” One of my own personal library holdings is a copy of a silly black and white mystery from the 1930s, “Murder on a Honeymoon”, with spinster schoolteacher sleuth Hildegard Withers solving a dastardly crime at the Casino itself.

And finally, as our Summer of Fun continues, if going fine free isn’t enough reason for you to come to the library, stop by to pick up some of our Summer Craft Kits: We currently have materials to make your own tassel bookmarks. And a special art project to celebrate artist Frieda Kahlo has just arrived as well: You can make a lovely Kahlo-esque flower crown plate. We still also have the spider web-making craft and the modelling clay-straited rock projects, as well.

A farewell to LA County library fines