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Library collects more than 300 food items
new slt foodforfines
Diedre Mapes, left, and Erin Ferguson at the Great Bend Public Library are shown with the collection of Food for Fines donated in December. The items are going to the Barton County Food Bank. - photo by photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Overdue books paid off for the Barton County Food Bank when the Great Bend Public Library offered to accept food donations in lieu of fines for the entire month of December. Patrons were invited to bring in one non-perishable food item for every $1 in fees owed to the library.

This week library staff plan to deliver more than 300 nonperishable items to the food bank, according to Diedre Mapes, the young adult and marketing librarian.
Adult Services Librarian Erin Ferguson said the library offers the Food For Fines promotion every December, and an Amnesty Day for overdue books in October. The staff are more interested in getting items back on the shelves so others can check them out than in collecting money, she said.
Some people brought in more food items than needed to cover their fines. The staff used those gifts to “pay it forward” if someone’s donation didn’t quite cover the fees owed.
While the shelves of food items makes an impressive display at the library, Mapes said she checked with the food bank to make sure the food wasn’t needed before Christmas. They were told that January is a great time to replenish the food bank after the holidays.