Middle Georgia State’s ‘Food for Fines’ Turns Annoyance Into Charity

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Friday, November 20, 2015 1:50 PM
Categories: Pressroom | Students

Macon, GA

Here's something sure to take the sting out of overdue fines for Middle Georgia State students who are late returning books.

University Library branches on all five campuses are rolling out "Food for Fines." From now until the end of fall semester, students can knock a dollar off their overdue fines for each canned good they bring in. Say a student has $3.20 in overdue fines. She or he can donate three cans of non-perishable food and write the fine off (the Library will round to the nearest dollar).

All food collected will be donated to community food banks or to Middle Georgia State's SHARE pantries, which provide food to students and employees in need.

The "Food for Fines" idea came from Valerie Godfrey, Library Assistant on the Dublin Campus since 2007. A Dublin resident, Godfrey is active in community service, including volunteering at her church's soup kitchen and tutoring kindergarten students in reading.

Her food drive idea was inspired by similar events that take place at some other U.S. academic and public libraries.

"I was thinking about the holidays and wondering what the campus could do to make things a little brighter for people in the community," Godfrey said. "I knew the semester would soon be over, and that students would be coming in to pay late fines, so I thought, 'Why not get them to bring food instead?'"

Failure to pay overdue fines can result in the University placing holds on students' accounts, which means they cannot register for next semester's classes or request transcripts. Most students who owe fines are no more than $5 in the red, Godfrey said.

"Food for Fines" does not apply to lost or damaged library books. Donated non-perishable food items need to be new and unopened.

If the drive is successful, Middle Georgia State may consider making "Food for Fines" a regular event.

For more information, students can contact the Library on the campus where they take most of their classes:

Roberts Library, Cochran Campus, (478) 934-3179
Dublin Campus Library, (478) 275-6772
Eastman Campus Library, (478) 374-6833
Macon Campus Library, (478) 471-2709
Warner Robins Campus (Nola Brantley Memorial Library), (478) 923-0128

Photo: One of MGA's SHARE pantries and, in the inset, Valerie Godfrey.