A Librarian Throws the Book at Overdue Borrowers
Armed with bulging sheaves of yellow summonses, Giuliano has become a familiar figure in district court. Although the delinquency rate has dropped slightly since she began her legal campaign—800 items were not returned last year, compared to 900 in 1979—most scoff laws still fail to appear in court to pay a possible $25 fine. Sometimes the books and records cannot be returned: Michelle's were destroyed in a fire in her family's home. The warrant was issued after she failed to appear in court to answer a summons she claims she never received.
Many offenders find the crackdown hard to take seriously. Barbara Wirzburger says that when a policeman telephoned her to say her husband, Paul, could be dragged away "in handcuffs in the middle of the night," she couldn't stop laughing. "My husband is as straight a person as you could meet," she says. "I don't think he's ever even gotten a parking ticket." Barbara says that the missing books are still in crates, because she and Paul recently married and moved into her house. Paul, a food broker, isn't talking. Perhaps he finds it ominous that one of the books he didn't return is a Kurt Vonnegut novel: Jailbird.
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