Bringing in the Big Guns for Fines!
An interesting article about libraries hiring collection agencies just got posted on MSNBC. It provides a balanced view of the issue. Personally, my gut reaction is that this flies in the face of everything that I would like a library to be to its community. Realistically, I can understand the temptation to take such a drastic step.
It seems that most libraries who have resorted to using a collection service are using Unique Management Services, a company based in Jeffersonville, IN. I had never heard of them before I read this article. A quick bit of sleuthing reveals that they have partnered with TLC. You can have the services of Unique as an enhancement to your online catalog. According to the TLC web site:
Unique Management Services, Inc., a company in Jeffersonville , Indiana that partners with libraries to recover overdue funds and materials, offers its Debt Collection service to TLC customers – an efficient yet gentle way for libraries to recover funds.
I am really curious how they are more effective if they only use gentle means to collect the fines or overdue materials. It almost makes me want to get a fine at a Unique library to go through the experience of dealing with a “gentle” collection agent. I have never dealt with a collection agency, but from what I hear they are usually quite annoying and relentless and far from “gentle”. It seems that others share my doubts.
Back to the original article… they do interview the director at MPOW and it seems as if she is against the idea of a collection agency. whew.