‘Food 4 Fines’ at libraries

Published 5:13 am Friday, April 14, 2017

The Washington Parish Library is offering a “Food 4 Fines” program system wide through May 17. During that time, patrons will get $3 knocked off of any fines they may have just by bringing in one canned, or otherwise non-perishable, food item for the local food banks.

Library Director Al Barron said the program started as an attempt to give patrons an opportunity to return library property without a penalty, and also to do good for others.

“If you can turn an apparent negative into a positive for everybody involved, you can bring a lot more good for very little money and effort,” he said. “The logical way to do it is Food 4 Fines.”

Barron said the program serves three purposes. It helps the library recover its assets, such as books and videos. It preserves the library’s relationship with its patrons. And it makes what can be a stressful situation into something good for the community.

“If we can do some good with that, we can bring a lot more good into the community,” he said. “We try to do it at Easter, a time of renewal, a time of redemption. It’s proven alarmingly successful.”

Barron said the program was started to assist the Help Center in Bogalusa, but soon expanded to include a food bank in Franklinton as well.

“It serves many purposes,” he said. “It’s just a value-added thing the library does for its user community.”

Emmett Guy, manager of the Bogalusa branch, said they accept Food 4 Fines year round in Bogalusa.

“It helps our patrons, and people in need of food from the (Bogalusa) Help Center,” he said. “They help an enormous amount of people, a lot of families. It’s a win/win situation.”

Guy said he believes the library started the program five years ago, shortly after Barron took over.