Garfield County: Library’s ‘food for fines’ program helping the hungry |

Garfield County: Library’s ‘food for fines’ program helping the hungry

A few less people will go hungry and a few Garfield County Public Library patrons have a little less debt, as a result of the library system’s recent “Food for Fines” program.

The month-long campaign during February allowed patrons at the library district’s six branches to bring in nonperishable food items in exchange for a $1 credit on overdue fines for each item donated.

Libraries in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute collected 2,894 items this year, up from the 2,386 food items collected in 2009.

The campaign also resulted in $2,773 in overdue book and materials fines being waived for the month, according to Emily Hisel, outreach coordinator for the Garfield County Public Library District.

“We are so pleased with the way our communities support this effort,” she said. “People not only took advantage of clearing up library fines, but also donated items simply out of the kindness of their hearts even if they didn’t have fines.”

The food items will be given to LIFT-UP food pantries in the respective communities, Hisel said. “That way it directly impacts the communities where people gave,” she said.

This is the third year of the “Food for Fines” campaign has been offered, and each year the number of food items donated has increased.

“We feel good about offering it,” Hisel said. “It’s good for patrons to be able to clear up fines, and we get to see them more often.”

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