News & Resources

Collections agency targets overdue library materials

May 11, 2011 Kyle Duncan

Australian library service Darebin Libraries has hired Indiana-based debt collection agency Unique Management Services to collect fines from its customers' for overdue books, The Northcote Leader reports. Katrina Knox, Darebin acting community services manager, explained to the news source that the library chose the U.S.-based agency because it had a 80 percent return rate on long overdue items, and they were especially impressed by its "gentle nudge" approach. "Customers will be contacted if they have ignored the various library notices and not made contact with the libraries to organize a hold, return or replacement of the item," Knox told the media outlet. "The use of the debt recovery service is a final step when all other council approaches have failed." This is not the first time a library has employed UMS to recover debts from its patrons. Earlier this year, Charleston County Library in Charleston, South Carolina, hired the service to track down any user who was more than 60 days late on returning materials and had rung up fines of at least $25 or more, The Post and Courier reports. UMS handles overdue accounts for more than 14,000 libraries in the U.S. and abroad, the news source adds.