Door County Library Experiments with Food for Fines

Readers with outstanding library fines, take note: During the week of Nov. 18-23, you will be able to erase your library fines through food donations. 

“We will accept – at all of our eight branches – a nonperishable, unexpired and undamaged food item,” said Tina Kakuske, Door County Library director. “For each item, we will give $1 off your fines on your library record up to $5.”

The food items collected at each branch will then be distributed to food pantries throughout the county, including Washington Island, Northern Door, Sturgeon Bay and Southern Door.

The idea to start a Food for Fines program here comes from Kakuske, who said similar programs were held at two other libraries where she had worked before taking the director’s post here in 2017.

“One did Food for Fines for the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, and another just at Thanksgiving, when food at pantries is in short supply and greatly needed. So I thought maybe we could do that here, too, in Door County,” she said.

She notes that Food for Fines will apply only to fines for items that have been returned late, not for items that need to be replaced or for fines that have gone to collections.

“We don’t want people to have fines, so this is a win-win. We get rid of the fines, and we stock the food pantries’ shelves,” Kakuske said. “We haven’t done this before, so it’s an experiment in a way to find out how it goes, but I would love it to be annual. We have no idea what the response will be. It would be nice to have a huge response. If someone brings in extra food, it can be applied to someone else’s fines if the patron wants us to do that. Even if you don’t have fines, paying it forward is a great way to help out.”

Related Organizations