By Rusty Bradshaw
A new program available at the Sun City library branches to allow residents to review stock news got off to a good start.
The Morning Star program became available throughout the Maricopa County Library District system in October 2018. The program was supported financially by the Friends of the Sun City Libraries.
Since its installation, the program has drawn more than 14,000 searches districtwide, according to Jeremy Reeder, MCLD deputy director.
“It took us a while to get it up and running, but the results have been very good so far,” Mr. Reeder told the Friends board during its May 9 meeting.
Mr. Reeder said about 25% of the 14,886 searches were conducted within library branches. However, it is not known how many of the searches were in the two Sun City branches — Bell, 16824 N. 99th Ave., and Fairway, 10600 W. Peoria Ave.
“They don’t break down the information enough to determine which branches the searches come from,” Mr. Reeder said.
In addition to Morning Star, the Sun City libraries have a financial information program called Valueline.
Mr. Reeder also reported MCLD could become the first library system in Arizona to eliminate fines for overdue books. The Maricopa County supervisors are scheduled to consider a proposal during their next meeting Wednesday, May 22.
The proposal will have very little effect on the district’s revenue.
“Overdue book fines are less than 1% of our revenue,” Mr. Reeder said.
If supervisors approve eliminating overdue book fines, library officials will still try to retrieve unreturned books. Patrons will be notified after 31 days they have an overdue book and must return it or be billed for the cost of the book, according to Mr. Reeder. Library officials will also still charge for replacement library cards and damaged books.
“Eliminating fines will just get rid of the stigma of owing the library for overdue books,” Mr. Reeder explained.
Sun City Bell branch library patrons could be returning books without getting out of their car as early as the fall.
Recreation Centers of Sun City officials are working with library staff and the Friends to install a book drop on the access road adjacent to the library’s north side. The drop will be placed in the middle of an expanded section of the roadway so patrons can drop off books going in either direction.
In addition, a gate will be installed in the wall at the northwest corner of the building to allow library staff to get the books from the drop and return to the library’s back door.
Sue Wilson, RCSC board member and Friends liaison, reported work on the book drop might start later than expected, but could be completed earlier than projected.
“The cost might also be less than was expected,” she said.
The friends are funding the book drop installation.
Cathy Weyers, Friends board member, made a call for residents to step forward to serve on the group’s board.
“We are going to need some new board members,” she said.
Visit www.suncitylibraryfriends.org under the “About Us” tab for information on the group and to contact officials about serving.