Off The Shelf @ Your Library - Food For Fines

By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

Love your library, love your community! Henry County Public Library System is excited to announce the second year of our partnership with the Food Pantry of Henry County. We believe that this cooperative venture benefits the community, the food pantry, and the library system!

Beginning February 15 and continuing through March 16, all five Henry County libraries will be encouraging visitors to “show the love” to fellow Henry County residents in need. Library patrons who owe overdue fines have the option of donating non-perishable food at the library instead of paying with cash. For every item donated, we will reduce your fines by $1.00. This is a real bargain, since you can easily pick up basic food items for under a dollar.

How does this help the library? By allowing patrons with overdue books and outstanding fines to start over with a clean slate. It also encourages people to return overdue materials so that other people may have access to them, and to correct any past oversights.

How does it help the food pantry? The Food Pantry of Henry County distributes food to over 3,100 people every month. They rely on donations, and the first quarter of the year is typically a lean time. The holidays are over, the proceeds from canned food drives in the fall have been distributed, yet the need is as great as ever. All food donated through the libraries will go directly to the food pantry to be distributed in our own community.

How else does it help the community? Although the food pantry’s mission is to provide emergency assistance with food, the organization also works to connect clients with other agencies that can help them transition to more secure financial, housing, and employment situations. The library system has numerous resources available to help them meet those goals, including job search resources, resume writing help, test-prep services, and access to computers and the Internet.
The food pantry also provides a vital link between the library system and Henry County residents in need. Along with their food packages, clients of the pantry receive information about library resources that can help them improve their lives. This ultimately benefits the entire community by helping more people make the transition to stable lifestyles that support our economy and improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.

Of course, you don’t have to have overdue fines to participate! We also accept donations from those whose library accounts are already in good standing. Everyone is encouraged to “love the library, love your community” during this time.

Please note that Food for Fines can only be used for overdue fines accrued in Henry County, not for lost or damaged materials, or fines assessed by other library systems. If you still need to get your account in good standing but can’t take advantage of Food for Fines, please contact us anyway! No need to be embarrassed, just call or come into the library and we’ll do whatever we can to help you make a fresh start.