Do you want to know a secret? Alright … but don’t tell any of my coworkers at the library! I once had a library book checked out on my card that was overdue by more than a year. I must have been about 10 years old at the time and I was a very forgetful kid. Plus, the library was on the other side of town and we didn’t get there very often. And my bike was broken … And it was cold outside ... no, wait … it was a hurricane — I tried to get to the library, got about 25 feet away from the front entrance, and then it blew me all the way home!
Yes, I had excuses. Unfortunately, they were not very good ones. The truth is I just kept forgetting and then, once I realized how late the book was, I was petrified about facing the consequences. What would happen if I returned a book after that all that time? Huge fines? Public shaming? Flogging? Would this go on my permanent record? Worst of all, I was sure to get THE LOOK — the withering glare of disappointment and disgust from the Librarian. No. Not that. Anything but that!
Well, fear not my fellow tardy book borrowers! There is a way to return overdue items that not only avoids getting THE LOOK, but will have the Librarians singing your praises. Once again, Westerly Library is offering Fines Free Week. It began this past Saturday, April 6, and runs until Saturday, April 13, (which is Rhode Island Library Day). In exchange for one non-perishable food item that we will donate to the Jonnycake Center, the library will waive fines for one returned overdue item. This year they are in special need of cereals, salad dressings, condiments, and coffee.
Ah, I see that I have piqued your interest and you are hungry for more details! Materials must be returned during library hours. We cannot waive fines for items that belong to other libraries. And we cannot waive fines on lost or damaged materials, or items that have already been returned.
Fines Free Week at Westerly Library is great because everyone wins. Procrastinators like me do not have to pay fines (yay!), the library gets its materials back which it can then loan out to others, and Jonnycake Center receives some much-needed food items that it can share with the community. So gather up those overdue DVDs and a few food items, and then swing by the library to take part. I guarantee that, in place of THE LOOK, you will be greeted with thanks and admiration — and brace yourself for that warm, fuzzy feeling you will get from doing nice things for other people!
Top requested books
1. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
2. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
3. “Run Away” by Harlan Coben
4. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover
5. “The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson
6. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
7. “Redemption” by David Baldacci
8. “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty
9. “Never Tell” by Lisa Gardner
10. “Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline
Top requested movies
1. “Green Book”
3. “Mary Poppins Returns”
4. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
5. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
6. “A Star is Born”
7. “The Mule”
9. “If Beale Street Could Talk”
10. “The Favourite”
MONDAY — 4-6:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 3 PM; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Homework Help/Tutoring (for grades K-8) – homework help and then tutoring in individual subjects, done by teens.
TUESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Family storytime for all ages; 1-2 p.m., Afternoon Book Group! New members are welcome, this month’s selection is “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate; 3:30-4:30 p.m., Teen S.A.G.A. meeting -- a discussion and support group for teens 12-18 about LGBTQ+ stories and issues in books, movies, TV shows, and more; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club; 6-6:45 p.m., Meditation Group – all ages and experience levels welcome! 6-7:30 p.m., Renaissance Toastmasters – meets twice a month to share stories and get comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
WEDNESDAY — The library opens at 1 p.m. today due to a staff development training in the morning; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners; 6-7 p.m., The Keys to Unlocking a Healthier You – a discussion on nutrition response testing and how it can benefit you!
THURSDAY — 10-11:30 a.m., Conversation Class – A free conversation class for English Language Learners; 3:30-5 p.m., Teen Baking Club – For ages 13-18, learn the basics of baking by helping to make a delicious baked good in the library’s kitchen, meets monthly, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Homework Help/Tutoring (for grades K-8) – homework help and then tutoring in individual subjects, done by teens; 6-7:30 p.m., Dementia Family Caregiver Support Group -- A trained former caregiver will be facilitating all group sessions. The groups will be a safe space to discuss the unique challenges of caregiving.
FRIDAY —10:15-11 a.m., Stories Sign & Craft – for ages 3+, focuses on a popular story and craft, and we will showcase simple and useful signs that go along with it.
SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served, space is limited. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 9 AM; 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 10 a.m.-3 p.m., RI Library Day: Libraries Rock! – Help us celebrate—we will have a special music garden activity, basket drawings, and a fun craft; 1-2 p.m., Easter Egg Hunt in Wilcox Park – for kids ages 1-8; 1-3 p.m., Teen Tournament: Smash Brothers Ultimate – bring your own controller if you like, there will be prizes!
Bill Lancellotta is the assistant director of the Westerly Library.