News & Resources

Oklahoma library debtors face collections

May 21, 2012 Philip Burgess

Prior to April, the debt accrued by members of the Duncan, Oklahoma, Public Library had been mounting to the point where a debt collection agency needed to step in, the Duncan Banner reports. Many accounts were as much as 45 days overdue, so on April 2 the library voted to contract with an agency to go after debtors who owed $25 or more. Librarian Jan Cole said she's seen positive results in the month since the hiring. "We're getting some things back and it’s been helpful," Cole told the news source. "When items are out for a long time, it keeps others from being able to use them and we have to replace them. It's an unnecessary expense." If debtors don't pay within 165 days, the collection firm will turn their accounts over to a credit reporting agency. At this point, consumer credit reports can be tarnished and credit ratings hindered for up to seven years. Business Insider explains that sending library debts to collections is becoming a more common occurrence due to declining library budgets. Budget concerns have led some libraries to send even "the most trivial debts" over to debt collectors, while also tacking on their own fees and penalties.