Your Views: Collection agency long overdue for Alexandria libraries

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To the editor:

Alexandria Library would like to thank Karen Ann DeLuca for writing a letter to the editor (Collection agencies for library late fees are a waste, June 2, 2011). In response, I would like to state that Alexandria Library is one of the last library systems in northern Virginia to contract with a collection agency. Compared to other library systems, we were long overdue.  

Before we met with Unique Management Systems (UMS), we benchmarked other library systems success stories with UMS. Because UMS only has library systems as clients, they are uniquely qualified to help library systems recover long overdue materials, our primary goal, and recover uncollected fines and fees. Although we have made it easier for patrons to pay fines and fees with a credit card, it still made fiscal sense for us to contract with UMS.

Ironically, as Ms. DeLuca suggests that we charge patrons a nominal membership fee to join, we are planning our 75th anniversary of becoming a free public library system. From 1794 to 1937, Alexandria Library was a subscription organization, one that charged patrons to join. By not charging patrons to join, especially those who cant afford materials, we truly offer equal access to all. Again, thank you Ms. DeLuca, and we appreciate your being a faithful library patron.

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