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HACAP to feel the impact of Metro Area Libraries doing away with overdue fines

HACAP to feel impact of Metro Area Libraries doing away with overdue fines
HACAP to feel impact of Metro Area Libraries doing away with overdue fines(KCRG)
Published: Dec. 7, 2019 at 7:00 PM CST
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On Thursday, the Cedar Rapids Public Library Board of Trustees took the first step in doing away with fines on overdue items.

This comes after the Hiawatha Board voted to make the change starting next July The hope is to help get 6000 people who are banned from borrowing books from the Metro Area Libraries, Hiawatha, Marion, and Cedar Rapids, to have their rights back. According to the board, a majority of those banned are people living in low-income neighborhoods.

However, this is going to have an impact on nonprofits who aim to help the same individuals.

“Our main goal is to help those in need,” said HACAP Reservoir Director Kim Guardado.

Each year the three libraries hold a “Food for Fines drive”. All the food donations subtract a dollar off of library fines and the food goes to one of the 150 nonprofits that partner with HACAP.

“We’re going to have less food,” she said.

Last year the event brought in 10,500 LBS of food. That is a tenth of a percent of what HACAP brings in each year, but it’s still a big impact on the area.

“10,500 pounds could feed 8 thousand families,” she said.

The library board said it will continue to work with HACAP and the other nonprofits and this move will bring more people to the library.

“The people that are most impacted by the fines are the ones in some ways that are most dependent on the library,” said Board Director Matthew Wilding.

It’s unclear where HACAP will be able to make up for the lost food, but Guardado said she is certain they will make up the deficit.

“Our community is really supportive,” she said. “When we do “Scouting for Food” or “Stamp out Hunger”, all of those events in eastern Iowa where people have an opportunity to donate, the community always comes through. We’ll be OK will find a way to make sure we have enough food to feed people.”

The Marion Library board will make its decision on Monday.

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