Fee collection on overdue materials is a fact of life in the library world. Even librarians have been known to rack up a tab on late books every once in a while! While no one likes paying a late fee, the truth is that this income is critical to PPL’s ability to offer a positive user experience to our patrons and visitors.
With that in mind, starting on March 16, 2015, we will be lowering our maximum carrying level for fees. Starting on that date, if you owe more than $5.00, you will not be able to borrow or renew materials or use public computers until the fees are paid or until arrangements have been made. Our lending teams at all locations are ready to work with patrons as we all make this transition.
You may have some questions about this change and about fees in general. Hopefully the answers below will help, but our staff at all locations are always ready to walk you through paying your fees.
How much of an impact do fees have on the library’s budget?
In FY2014, PPL collected more than $78,000 in fees. This income goes primarily to support collection activities like adding books, reference materials, DVDs, and other items to our collections as well as supporting the repair of existing holdings. When you go to the shelves, you expect to find clean, up-to-date, and useable materials; fees are essential in making sure we can provide you with that experience.
What’s the difference between fees and the Annual Campaign?
It’s not uncommon to hear folks say, “Sure, I give to the library – I pay my late fees!” While both fees and gifts to the Annual Campaign do support critical needs at PPL, they generally support different areas of PPL’s operation. As noted above, fees are strongly tied to our ability to curate our collection, while Annual Gifts are prioritized for our programs and outreach. Both fees and gifts are vital income sources help ensure that your library experience – the materials you borrow and the programs and outreach that grow out of those collections – is all it should be.
How can I pay my fees?
Any of our Lending Team members can help you with fee payment. You can also pay your fees securely online. Once you use your card number to log into MyPPL, just check the “fines” tab for information and an online payment link.
Still have questions? Contact the lending staff at your preferred PPL branch location during open hours or call the main lending office at 207-871-1700, ext. 730.
There is one word that makes a librarian especially happy, and yesterday it was said again and again. “Neutrality” was the word of the day, as the Federal Communications Commission agreed to recognize Internet infrastructure as a public utility. This is exciting news. It has been an issue for over 10 years, starting in 2005 when the FCC voted to reclassify DSL broadband service, away from being an “information service” to instead be called a “telecommunications service,” effectively allowing Internet service providers to hide their infrastructure allowing it to be riddled with unfair practices.
But yesterday’s decision ensures that access to the Internet will be based on fair and equitable practices. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says: “the landmark open-Internet protections that we adopted today should reassure consumers, innovators and financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”
Earlier this fall, it was discovered that Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 (a crucial piece of software for accessing library eBooks) was transferring data back to Adobe about the user’s reading choices in plain text. Not only was this confidential information accessible to anyone with a bit of technical savvy, but Adobe was also gathering data about other eBooks and materials on user’s devices. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was of the opinion that sending the data over plain text “undermines decades of efforts by libraries and bookstores to protect the privacy of their patrons and customers” even if Adobe’s practice was a mistake.
The Library responded to this situation in a blog post in October as did many other libraries around the country, and we are pleased to report that the situation has since improved.
There is now a patch in place with ADE version 4.0.1., and patrons should feel confident that their privacy is protected and secure with this update. The American Library Association commended Adobe for taking this action to make users’ information secure, but ALA continues to be wary “about the amount of data collected and retained by all vendors within the eBook ecosystem.”
As librarians, we have made a commitment to work together to pressure vendors to adhere to the highest standards of privacy the Library has long represented. In addition, librarians are working together to develop technical expertise to verify that privacy is respected at the digital programmatic level—something often invisible to both users and librarians—but often conspicuous to anyone with basic hacking skills seeking this information.
Please ensure your version of Adobe Digital Editions is updated to ADE 4.0.1 to incorporate the changes that will keep your personal information safe. If you need assistance with this, you can contact the Public Computing desk—871-1700 x 708.