News Release - June 18, 2009

San Francisco Public Library Recovers 29,000+ Items During its Overdue Fine Amne

For Immediate Release: June 18, 2009

Contacts: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282

San Francisco Public Library Recovers 29,000+ Items During its Overdue Fine Amnesty Period

Value of Returned Materials Approximately $730,000

The San Francisco Public Library recovered 29,228 overdue items during its fine amnesty program from May 3-16 with a total value of approximately $730,000. Included in that total were 3,151 books that were more than 60 days overdue and were therefore "assumed lost" or unlikely to be returned. The value of those long overdue items was nearly $79,000.

Among the older items returned in the Free2Return campaign was a copy of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman (reprinted 1947) with a due date stamp of Jan. 29, 1964, making it more than 45 years overdue from the Presidio Branch Library. It will be on display at the branch.

San Francisco library patrons saved themselves $55,165 in overdue materials fines and more than 3,000 patrons were able to obtain a clean slate on their record. To spread the word about the amnesty, celebrities Josh Kornbluth, Beth Lisick, W. Kamau Bell, Marga Gomez and Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger recorded video public service announcements about their excuses for overdue materials. Library patrons were invited to submit their own "excuses" for possible inclusion on the Library's Web site. Among the Library's favorite excuses: "I was abducted by aliens, they just brought me back after 2 months." – Antonio

The Free2Return campaign was intended to help library patrons return to the Library by waiving fines for any returned overdue materials, allowing patrons to restore their borrowing privileges and make more items available for public circulation. Materials returned needed to be in good condition.

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