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Library Fines Dead Woman For Overdue Book

By Chris V. Thangham     Sep 26, 2007 in Crime
It doesn’t matter whether the person is dead or not, they should still pay the fine for overdue books at Westchester County Library in New York State. Elizabeth Schaper had to pay a fine for a book checked out by her dead mother.
Elizabeth Schaper’s mother Ethel Schaper died at the age of 87 on September 16 after a massive stroke. A few days later she found an overdue book checked out by her mother, who was an avid reader and used to check out plenty of books from the Westchester County Library.
Ethel Schaper did the right thing by returning the book, “The Price of Silence” by Camilla Trincheri, to the library. However, the man behind the counter had a different idea and charged Ethel a late fee of 50 cents for the overdue book.
Schaper said to WCBSTV.com:
I told him that maybe he didn’t hear me right, that my mother had just died, otherwise I’m sure that she would have returned it on time. His only reply was that, ‘That will be 50 cents.”’
Ethel was dumbfounded and shocked to hear this; but she paid the fine and left the library. Ethel must have felt she was dealing with a robot instead of a human being.
Connie Perrotta, a secretary for the director of the Harrison Public Library, confirmed the incident but declined to comment further about the incident.
A few days later another library employee called Ethel and apologized for the incident and offered to return the fine she had paid for her mother’s overdue book.
All ends well, but I am surprised, how common courtesy and politeness has become a lost art. I use the university bus sometimes, the guys don’t offer seats for the ladies or elders, and if you do they look at you odd. Do you see similar things around you?
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