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Library drops fines

The library is more than a house for numerous titles or a silent location to read. Starting next week, it will also be the center of seminars and charitable donations set to improve an already thriving community.

“I love that word ‘thrive’ because it points to getting better and growing,” said Library Director Becky Nichols.

Her excitement over a thriving community stems from the National Library Week theme of “Communities thrive at your library,” an event from Monday until April 16. The Selma-Dallas County Public Library will host daily events celebrating growth.

“Most of the week deals with thriving gardens and planting organics, and all the good things that grow good food for healthy bodies,” Nichols said.

All seminars are free of charge. Seminars will be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. in the library lobby. Tuesday the library will hold health screenings conducted by the Vaughan Community Health Services from 9 a.m. until noon. All screenings are free.

Another event in conjunction with the celebration is Fine Free Week, a time when the library will accept all books and items without charging overdue fines.

“Twice a year we designate weeks when the public can clean out all those library books they have been stacking up and been scared to bring back,” Nichols said. “If you owe even $87, we’re going to look you in the face and say ‘We’re clearing your fine.’”

What the library asks is that people pay the favor forward. Each year, the library collects donations to give to local organizations from those who have their fines cleared.

Donations are not required to be the equivalent of the cleared fine.

“Give what your heart tells you,” Nichols said. “We always have a cause or something so that everybody wins. You win because your fines are cleared.”

Organizations win because they receive donations. This year, the weekly crochet classes have made more than 150 hats to give to children at Vaughan Regional Medical Center and the patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Montgomery Cancer Center.

The Cancer Center medical oncology division in Selma was eliminated in March due to a limited number of medical oncology physicians to provide the service, but patients living in the area will accept the hats on behalf of the center.

“We will be presenting our bounty of soft hats, made with love, to all these little heads, large and small, and your fines that we are going to clear and your donations go to pay for the yarn,” Nichols said.

National Library Week is an initiative started in 1958 by the American Library Association. It is designed to promote libraries and celebrate the contributions of public libraries, school libraries and academic libraries to the community.

Monday, April 12 “How much should I eat? Serving size and portions” seminar from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the library lobby.

Tuesday, April 13 Vaughn health screenings from 9 a.m. until noon in the Vaughn

room in the library.

Wednesday, April 14 “Growing herbs for healthy eating” seminar from 4 p.m. until 5

p.m. in the library lobby.

Thursday, April 15 “Growing your own groceries: Organic gardening” seminar from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the library lobby.

Friday, April 16 Outdoor plants and planting seminar from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m.