Do you have overdue fines? Pay them with Food! – St. Thomas Libraries Blog
Archbishop Ireland Library, Circulation, Library Week, News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library

Do you have overdue fines? Pay them with Food!

Have you ever returned a library book so late that you got fined for having it so long? 

It’s okay.  We know you really needed it to write that awesome-possum paper on <insert your favorite major here>.  That’s why you’re here … to dig into it more, right?!?

2013 food for fines poster

The UST Libraries is holding its 5th Annual Food for Fines Drive again this year.  It kicks-off during Library Week, April 15-19, 2013, and run until the end of May.

Now you can pay down those fines* with currency in your pantry and not currency in your pocket (Yeah, we know it’s mostly lint.  Thanks for not sharing.)

O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on north campus (map) and Ireland Library on south campus (map) in St. Paul will accept your food donations and apply them to your library account at this ratio:  

  • 1 can = $2.00 in fines.

Donated food will go to the Emergency Food Shelf at the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches

Are you interested in what items are a high priority for them? 

Here’s a list:

  • Dry goods:  rice: white, brown, wild; navy beans; pinto beans; crackers; pancake mix; flour; baking powder; yeast; sugar; baking soda; iodized salt; macaroni; spaghetti; macaroni & cheese; instant potatoes; dry soup mixes: onion, chicken noodle; unflavored oatmeal; Cream of Wheat; breakfast cereals; artificial sweetener; sugar-free items for diabetics
  • Canned & bottled:  beans: navy, pinto, baked; spaghetti sauce; vegetable oil; syrup; canned meats: tuna, chicken, spam, ham, corned beef, beef stew; tomatoes: stewed, diced, whole, puree; applesauce; juices: orange, apple, cranberry, pineapple, tomato; peanut butter; jellies & jams;
  • Personal care & household:  toilet paper; feminine hygiene products; soap; shampoo; toothpaste; toothbrushes

If all you have is ramen noodles, that’s okay.  We’ll take that too.  Given an option, we’re asking folks to donate healthy food because it’s better for all of us.

So, start going through your kitchen shelves and deciding what you are not going to eat before moving out at the end of the semester.  Then check your CLICnet fines on My Account.  If you’ve got more food than fines, it’s okay to donate more.  Then bag them up and bring them over to the circulation desk at OSF and Ireland Libraries to melt those fines away (don’t you wish the pounds would melt away that easily?). 

If you’re curious about whether this or that fine* is eligible (like the $65 “billed” book that’s in your hand … just return it:), please drop us a line at, give us a call, or stop by and chat with us.

  • O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library: 651-962-5494
  • Ireland Library: 651-962-5450

Thanks and have a great Library Week! 

* Food will only be accepted for overdue fines, not for lost or damaged items.

Curious about our history of Food for Fines? 

We thought you’d never ask!  Over the last 4 years we have donated a total of 1,718 lbs. of food.  2011_1

  • In the Spring of 2009, 156 lbs. of food was donated.  About $336.00 in patron fines were alleviated.
  • In the Spring of 2010, 288 lbs. of food was donated. About $503.25 in patron fines were alleviated.
  • In the Spring of 2011, 811.5 lbs. of food was donated. About $1,588.95 in patron fines were alleviated.
  • In the Fall of 2011, 462.5 lbs. of food and $227.00 in cash was donated.  About $1,141.50 in patron fines were alleviated.
  • During the 2012 calendar year, Food for Fines was not offered.

 Previous recipients were the Franciscan Brothers of Peace and Francis Basket Food Shelf.

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