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Mt. Pleasant library is 'Hungry for Books'

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

More than 11,000 items have been checked out of Westmoreland County libraries and not returned over the last six years.

Beginning Sunday through Nov. 9, the Mt. Pleasant Public Library will be participating in the “Hungry for Books” program sponsored by the Westmoreland Library Network.

During that time, any overdue books, movies, CDs or audio-books returned with a nonperishable food item will receive a pardon.

“Sometimes, people keep an overdue library book for so long they're embarrassed to return it,” said Mary Lou Shick, director of the borough's public library located at 120 S. Church St.

“This will encourage those who (have not) visited the library in awhile to come back and help get the books back on the shelves,” she said.

No fines will be charged and no records of the items being late will be kept, Shick said.

“The slate will be wiped clean,” she said.

The library network is collecting the nonperishable food items to donate to the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

The Delmont-based food bank is always in need of peanut butter and jelly, said Clarissa Amond, the facility's community outreach coordinator.

“We're highlighting those two items,” said Karen Munson, the library network's system development coordinator. “But we will, of course, accept any unexpired food items library users would like to donate.”

Each month, approximately 15,000 people in nearly 7,000 families county-wide receive food assistance from the food bank's Food Pantry Distribution Program, according to the facility's website — westmorelandfoodbank.org.

Sixty percent of the organization's funding comes from fundraisers and donations such as the library network campaign.

Munson added that anyone can donate food during Overdue Book Amnesty Week – not just those with overdue books.

“Any overdue item can be returned to any of the participating libraries,” Shick said. “It does not have to be the library you took it out of.”

To receive credit for turning in the overdue item, patrons must check in at the front desk and instead of leaving the item in the book drop box.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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