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The Slice: Overdue for a library lesson

Sometimes there is a price to pay for being late.

“My daughters check out and read a tremendous amount of books,” wrote Suzanne Alvarez, of Colbert.

That’s a good thing, right?

Certainly. But …

“I just paid their overdue library fine which totaled $345.”

Alvarez wonders if that is a record. “For that amount, you would think they would at least name a bookshelf after them.”

I asked for a few additional details.

“All my daughters love to read, but especially the 13-year-old who reads about 40 books a month and is working on writing a novel.”

That is a lot of reading.

“I have always allowed them to maintain their own accounts as a way of fostering independence. But she messed up and got overwhelmed with the amount of books she had. Going to the library for her is like going to a candy store.”

There’s more. “The $345 was just in overdue amounts. In many cases the amount (of the fine) was more than what the book was worth. I could have purchased all the books on Amazon for a fraction of the price and given them to the library.”

But Alvarez understands the concept of sharing as it pertains to library materials. And now her daughter does, too.

“There is a new monitoring system in place. The hammer has come down in the Alvarez home, so to speak.”

I warned her that some Slice readers might suggest she, the mom in this saga, had exercised inadequate oversight.

“I realize that I will be judged but I have tried to let the girls be independent within certain boundaries.”

Understood. But one more thing. Surely there were alerts from the library before the overdue fines hit $345.

“When we asked Gabby about notices the library sent she said she didn’t want to answer that in case she incriminated herself.”

Spoken like a kid who recently read a book on interpreting the law, written by a Supreme Court justice.

Today’s Slice question: If you were to guess … what percentage of Spokane area residents live in houses or multi-family structures built before they were born?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email The biggest thing keeping you from running for an elected office is …

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