Yesterday, I returned 3 overdue books to my local library. As I handed the 10 dollar bill over to the clerk, I thought:
I wonder if she will DDR-off me for it.
Then the thought quickly subsided as there was a long line behind me whose attendees wanted to check their books out and go home. But what if there wasn’t a line…
Truth be told, I’d rather pay the fines than try to get out of them by winning a contest. I see nothing wrong with “Food for Fines”, because this gives back to the community. Also, paying fines adds a sense of duty to the borrower of the material. Teens (or adults for that matter) will think, heck, I don’t have to return this book on time because I know that I have the fastest legs in the west and could kick the beans out of the teen librarian at DDR. Paying overdue fines is also one of the most important fund-raising activities for many cash-strapped libraries across the country.
Last, there’s an socio-economic issue at hand. In low income areas where DDR is not available in every household, how fair is it to the person who doesn’t have the time nor the tools to practice to beat the librarian. Example: Two teens walk into the library. One is middle class and has been playing DDR for a few years. The other can’t afford DDR and has no experience with it, other than trying it out at the library a few times (note: I see nothing wrong with video games at libraries). Both owe $5 in overdue fines, but only one has the skills (skillz?) to beat the librarian, who of course, is pretty good himself.
Libraries are equalizers and “DDRing” off for a chance to waive fines is not. Doing so will cause a rift between those who have and those who don’t. So, play DDR, Wii, SL, etc. But don’t make a competition out of paying overdue fines.
Also, if teens (or adults!) are misbehaving, why reward them with video games, or something else they love to do? I’ve only been a parent for 4 years, but I know that if Hallie misbehaves, she is less likely to do so again if she doesn’t get to play her favorite game for an hour or two.