Chatham-Kent Public Library trading food donations for overdue fines

If you have a few canned goods and library fines in Chatham-Kent, you're in luck — one can cancel out the other. 

The Chatham-Kent Public Library is forgiving overdue fines this week with a donation for the food bank. 

One food donation items equals $5 in fines — up to $50 per library card.

Cassey Beauvais, a manager at the library, said she expects a lot of people to take advantage of the campaign.

"It's unfortunately very easy to accumulate fines if you're not paying attention," said Beauvais, noting that keeping five DVDs just one extra day tallies up to $5 in fines.

"It's usually just that people forgot or got busy, but we do have to charge fines as library revenue."

Beauvais said the library has been known to waive the fees, if there are extenuating circumstances. For this campaign, they're willing to lose revenue from fines.

"We've never done this [campaign], but back in the early 80s, Chatham Library did it with great success," said Beauvais. "We wanted to try it again."

Beauvais said the library has made contacts with food banks in each of the Chatham-Kent's communities to make sure the food goes to where it will be most needed. 

"We're doing our best to keep all the food donated at each branch local to those communities," said Beauvais. 

People can also pay their fines in cash and ask for it to go to the food banks. Beauvais said other items, like toiletries, will also be accepted.

The campaign runs from Nov. 25 to Nov. 30, at 11 Chatham-Kent Public Library branches.