In an attempt to diminish the $6,739.21 in library fines University students have accrued, officials at Robert R. Muntz Library are accepting non-perishable food items in place of fines.
The fine forgiveness will be going on through Friday, Professional Librarian Alma Ravenell said.
The Food for Fines program has been used by the library previously, but this is the first time in recent years the program has been active, library assistant Robyn Perdue said.
For each food item donated the library will forgive student’s fines by $1, which is the equivalent of four days of late fees on a standard book check out.
Food donations can be used for fine forgiveness up to a maximum of $25, Perdue said.
Students are able to ask the circulation desk in the library if fines have accrued on their account, Ravenell said.
Also, a message is sent to the student’s school email address, notifying students of any overdue books.
For each day a book is late, the students’ account is charged 25 cents.
“[The program was started] to benefit the East Texas Food Bank and to encourage patrons with large fines to return books,” Perdue said.
A $1 donation is enough money to feed eight people, according to the East Texas Food Bank’s website.
The library has already received more than 50 non-perishable items, according to Perdue.
The impact of this program is having in the community is well observed.
The box for donations is located at the front desk in Muntz library.
“We do have volunteers on a daily basis that do a wide variety of things here at the East Texas Food Bank, from helping sort food, to repacking beans, rice, pasta, to helping in our warehouse,” Michael Hetrick, online communications manager at the East Texas Food Bank said.
The East Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that has aimed to feed people in need in 26 counties in East Texas since 1988 according to their website.
Volunteers perform a variety of activities, according to the website.
Volunteers are involved in answering the phone, taking food orders, picking up and transporting food and assisting with special events, according to their website.
The East Texas Food Bank is currently involved in more than 10 food drives this holiday season.
To donate at the nearest location you can visit their website for more information.