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Library accepts pictures of cats for fines

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In Massachusetts, US, a unique and fun program is capturing the hearts of library-goers and cat lovers alike.

The Worcester Public Library (WPL) has introduced “Felines for Fee Forgiveness!” This creative initiative is part of their March Meowness celebration, a cat-themed month full of activities and events.

The library is offering a special deal: if someone has lost or damaged a book, they can bring in a picture of a cat, and in exchange, the library will forgive their fees and reactivate their library card. And it’s not just cats that count; the library welcomes pictures or drawings of “honorary cats,” which could be any animal from dogs to orcas!

This program started with the aim to welcome back community members who might have been staying away from the library because of overdue fees or lost books, especially those items that might have been misplaced during the challenging times of the pandemic. Jason Homer, the Executive Director of WPL, mentioned that the goal was to lower the barriers for people to return to the library and enjoy its resources.

The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of books being returned within just a few days of launching the scheme. These returned books come with a bonus: a cat wall, where the library displays the variety of cat pictures and drawings received.

To ensure that the program runs smoothly, there are a few guidelines. The books must have been borrowed from WPL and been missing or damaged for at least two months. And for those who might have a history of not returning books, there’s a check in place; if someone has failed to return five or more books in the past, the library managers will decide whether to accept the cat picture for fee forgiveness.

Alongside “Felines for Fee Forgiveness!”, the library is also hosting other cat-themed events, including a movie screening, make-up tutorials, craft sessions, and even a chance to play with shelter cats, all aimed at creating a fun and stress-free environment for the community.

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