Jory Enck, who checked out a GED study guide in 2010, was placed behind bars last Wednesday after police noticed a warrant for the overdue book during a routine encounter. According to a highly controversial city ordinance, any person who does not respond to calls or emails about an an overdue library book checked out for more than 90 days will be reported to the municipal court.
“The reason they passed it was that they were spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn’t return,” said Municipal Court Judge Bill Price.
Copperas Cove Police Officer Julie Lehmann confirmed that police would always make an arrest anytime a delinquent reader with a library warrant was encountered during routine stops.
Despite the city’s attempts to justify the ordinance, almost all of Copperas Cove’s residents are adamantly opposed to filling up crowded jails with library patrons.
“Universal hatred, nobody wants to get arrested over a library book. The other side of that is people that go to our library and can’t have these materials, they’re put out too,” Price said.
Copperas Cove is not alone when it comes to using vital city resources to track down rouge card-carrying library members.
Last year, a 4-year-old in Freeport, Pennsylvania was visited by police after failing to promptly return several books including “Sleeping Beauty” and “Dora The Explorer: The Halloween Cat.”
A 5-year-old in Charlton, Massachusetts was visited by police in 2012 as well, demanding to know why she hadn’t returned several books to the local library, causing the young girl to burst into tears.
A woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested in front of her five small children last year after police ran her name and saw a warrant from an overdue Twilight book. The woman spent a night in jail over the $36 late fee.