The Economics of Library Fines
Somehow, my library books are always due on a Tuesday. This is awkward for me, since my wife goes to the town knitting circle on Wednesdays, half a block from the library. As a result, it is more economical of me to just pay the damned fine than to drive over to the library on its own trip (or even, one wonders, when running errands in Hudson). And yet, paying library fines are anathema to me. I am horrified by the idea of returning something so valuable as distilled knowledge even a day late. On the emotional spectrum, it falls somewhere on about the same level as kicking puppies and stealing candy from babies, though I have, on occasion, returned a library book late, whereas I have not done the other two. Movie and video game rentals, of course, are another beast entirely. I'm more thank ok to pay a higher non-negotiable rate to extend one of these by a day or so.
And on the other other hand, if I want to ensure my children respect their local library, for both its mystical and ethical significance, I will need to ensure that I am willing to spend *my* money on gas just to help ensure they are able to earn the emotional reward of returning books on time, and avoid the emotional penalty of condemning another to darkness and ignorance.