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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Working off the fees

Working off the fees

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My predecessor would have students who could not afford to pay for damaged or lost books work off the payments. I would love to hear what other people think about this & what jobs they have students do (if they do this kind of thing).

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Linda Locker's picture
Linda Locker
Media specialist for a Grade 5-6 Ohio Middle School

Paying off library fees is sometimes a concern in our library, too. We have never had a student "work" to pay off a fee, but we have tried several different options. If the student's family cannot afford the payment, I sometimes will waive the fee. This happens rarely, but for some at-risk kids, a library fee is the least of their worries. Life is complicated. We have also allowed students to make payments. One student paid off her fee over a period of a year, bringing in two dollars at a time. If they are attempting to meet their obligation, we allow them to check out at least one book. On another note, after years of collecting lost/paid fees which we sent to the district office, we never received any of the money back. Finally, we have an arrangement with the treasurer's office to get reimbursed for every dollar we collect to actually replace the lost/damaged materials. Meeting obligations is a life lesson our students need.

Jennifer Seebauer's picture
Jennifer Seebauer
Middle School Librarian, Teays Valley School District

Typically this year I have waived fees for those students who cannot afford to repay. Those who can we have worked with to get a payment in while allowing them to take out one book (our limit is three).

I'm getting pressure, in regards to one particular student, to have them "work off the fee" as the family cannot afford it (due to extreme medical bills) and the student is abusing this. The book in question is not lost, merely dog chewed on one corner. While gross it is still readable.

I'm just confounded as to what to do & tired of being pressured to "make this student pay."

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