, Salem, MA

Local News

November 22, 2012

Heard Around Town: Pay off your library debts with canned food

PEABODY — If you’ve got a can of ravioli in the back of the cabinet that you’re never going to eat — or even if you are — the Peabody Institute Library is offering its annual get-the-debt-monkey-off-your-back, clean-out-the-cabinet-and-feel-good-about-yourself opportunity.

In other words, you can pay off your library fine with food slated for Haven From Hunger.

“A lot of people have been asking us about it,” says the library’s Gerri Guyote. They expected Food for Fines to begin, as usual, during the holidays. But there’s been a change. The program will begin instead on Jan. 14 and end Feb. 15. That’s a time when food pantries like Haven From Hunger struggle to fill the cupboard.

Meanwhile, those library fines add up, Guyote points out. And if you fail to do something about them, you could have your library card declined. Think of the embarrassment. At worst, police officers show up at your door, tsk-tsking and wanting that long-missing copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Some fines can’t be paid off — like the ones involving libraries other than Peabody. But the fines on a variety of items do apply — from DVDs to audiobooks. Guyote concedes that the arrangement might actually encourage some people to run up fines knowing the payment goes to a good cause. “But because it benefits the Haven, we accept that as part of the deal.”

Canned goods and nonperishables are welcome at the Main Library, 82 Main St.; South Branch Library, 78 Lynn St.; and the West Branch Library, 603 Lowell St.

Firemen’s lift

Two Peabody firefighters were elevated in rank this week. Daniel Dean, a seven-year veteran and Peabody resident, rose from lieutenant to captain. Ronald Ciampa, after four years on the job, is now a lieutenant.

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