News & Resources

South Carolina library hires collection agency to reel in late fees

Jan 04, 2011 Kyle Duncan

The Charleston County Library in South Carolina is tired of chasing residents for their overdue books, DVDs and other library property. Therefore, it has enlisted the services of Unique Management Services - a collection agency - to do its dirty work, according to the Charleston Post and Courier. Cardholders in possession of any library property that is 60 days overdue or up to $25 or more in late fees will be subjected the collection agency. According to the paper, the collection agency will first send a formal letter, followed by a phone call, which will be proceeded by further follow-ups. If a cardholder does not respond to the late fees within 120 days after the agency makes first contact, the failure to pay will go on their consumer credit report, said Frances Richardson, a spokeswoman for the library. "It scares them, unfortunately, but they are paying their fines," said Frances Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Charleston County Library. "I think we were at a point, with budget cuts and everything, where we had to do something." To date, approximately $30,000 worth of library material has been returned and $16,758 worth of fines has been recouped. Unique Management Services, which handles 14,000 library accounts in all, has recovered between 60 and 70 percent of the library's backlog.