Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Man Pays $2,190 Library Fine

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) A man who borrowed a book in 1981 from his hometown library in suburban Buffalo has returned it, along with $2,190.

Joel Schlesinger would have owed 10 cents a day up to $10, the maximum penalty for an overdue book that year. Even now, the fine is only 25 cents a day up to $15.

But in 2005, the library system and Erie County have financial troubles. He returned "The Joy of Camping" to the Orchard Park Public Library last Friday with something extra in the check.

"We certainly had no intention of charging (that) amount," said library director Ann Laubacker. But they accepted the donation.

Schlesinger, who sells and services Dairy Queen franchises, said he found the book a few months ago in the attic of his northern New Jersey home. Meanwhile, he was planning a reunion with his brothers in western New York to play some golf. He checked the library Web site, read about the financial troubles and phoned Laubacker before his visit.

A member of the Orchard Park High School Class of 1976, Schlesinger said he spent a lot of time in that library, "doing projects and stuff. We didn't have the Internet back then."

The book was due Feb. 27, 1981. He calculated $2,190 for the 24 years since.

"It's tough times they're going through," he said. "I hope they can do some good things ... maybe buy some books. That would be terrific."

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