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book amnesty

Give us back our books! Library won't spank you if you do, Dec. 15-23 By Chris Woodall The Whistler Public Library wants its books back. Chief librarian Joan Richoz says there are $7,000 worth of the library's books hiding on shelves, behind beds, under car seat and all kinds of places where people have forgotten about them. "That's a lot of books," Richoz says of the total, which works out to about 350 volumes that could be providing someone else with a window into a greater view on their soul, or the world in general. There are fines, of course: the maximum is just $5 a book, but if you are the slothful sort who's maxed out on the 10 books you're allowed, that could add up to $50 in penalties. In Quebec they throw you in jail for this. But never fear. In kinder, gentler Whistler, the library is having an amnesty on overdue books. Bring back the library's overdue books between Dec. 15 and 23 and not a fine will be laid and not a bad word on your character will be said. "It's our Christmas present," says Richoz, who'd like to have the books back more than she'd like to have the revenue from overdue book fines. Books long overdue have come back, Richoz notes. "People move out and find the books in the process of moving, or people moving in find them abandoned on shelves." As we said, it's only in Quebec where they toss you in jail for having overdue books. "I think people are embarrassed or shy about returning overdue books," Richoz says. Some titles disappear regularly. 'We've gone through six or seven copies of On the Road by Jack Kerouac," Richoz says. This isn't the first amnesty. "We haven't done this since we moved into our current building (about two years ago)," the chief librarian says. "We're long overdue, pardon the pun, to have an amnesty," Richoz says. Just slip the late book into the return slot if you can't face the music in person. The library, however, eagerly accepts cash donations, so this could be a way to salve your soul, this being the Christmas season and Santa Claus watching your every move and all. Remember, there's no jail... but in a town with an anti-swearing bylaw, things could change.