A Debt Yet Unpaid

Without going into all the sordid details, I have an unpaid fine on record at the Los Angeles Public Library. Indeed, my otherwise perfect record as a borrower of books has been blackened because I was a day late last August returning Blake Gumprecht’s awesome The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Its Death, and Possible Rebirth, which I had checked out for the noble purpose of finding actual facts to support an IAAL•MAF spinvitational bike tour of the river that I led July 22.

The amount? A pffft. A trifle. A mere bit, if you will: 25 cents. But until I square things I am gratata non personum inflagrantus at the checkout lines of any of the 71 branches of the library… doubly so on its website — which is the slow point of this post. I’m not protesting the fine, but having had neither the need for the excuse since to visit the library and pay the penalty in person, I logged onto lapl.org to see if an online fine payment option was available. It was! Eagerly I entered my library card number and proceeded fine.jpg to the checkout where much to my deflated excitement I found that the privilege of balancing my account from my desktop was going to cost me a service fee. In order to give the library an electronic quarter and call things even it was going to cost me an electronic addition of, well… you can see for yourself:

At least they don’t insult my wavering intelligence by calling it a “convenience” fee. All the same I think I’ll just wait to pony up until my next visit or when the library police act on a bench warrant issued for my arrest, whichever comes first.

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5 Replies to “A Debt Yet Unpaid”

  1. Watch out for those Library Police; they are vicious. I’ve been their victim because of my tendency to not return items on time, and let me tell you: they do not mess around (especially with the convenience fees).

  2. In my experience there has been no urgency on the behalf of LAPL to pay off my 0.25 late fees. In fact there have been times where I have checked out other material while still having a dollar or so in fines and there wasn’t a problem. If I have the cash handy I pay off the balance otherwise they let me pay it whenever it is convenient.

  3. There always was and remains something so moronic about charging more for paying a fee online than in person. You think that a city agency would encourage not only the savings from not having to pay someone to physically take your money, but to reduce the additional carbon footprint required to get to the library – ie fuel costs, wear and tear on roads, etc.

  4. Moronic, yes. But still, I never really gripe about paying the LAPL for my inability to return books on time. It’s like people who bitch about parking fees at National Parks.
    At least you know that quarter is going to a good place.

  5. The charge is more for the sake of the bank than the library. Credit card processors charge a flat fee for each transaction plus a percentage. For a card not present transaction (that is over the phone or internet), those charges go higher. The nastiest part of it is that the card processors generally require merchants to hire an independent on-line processor if they wish to submit charges via the internet. All of that adds up.

    You’ll note that the LAPL doesn’t take credit cards at the branches.

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