Various sources offer quirky view of history

Much has changed at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library over the course of its existence.
Much has changed at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library over the course of its existence.

We have been reading up on the library ... some tidbits gleaned from library year-end reports and other official library sources:

Libraries used to promote books available for purchase, including a book-form issue of American Heritage devoted to the Twenties, described as that “dear dead decisive decade.”

In a 1965 issue of the Tee-Pee, Notes & News of the Toledo Public Library, tours of the Main Library were scheduled with some “comely contoured girl-guides” drafted to assist with showing the public around.

READ MORE: Toledo-Lucas County Public Library celebrates 175 years

It was noted decades ago that the Bible was one of the most frequently “lost, strayed, or stolen” books in public libraries.

Also from the archives: an item called a Dewey Thought. “A great librarian must have a clear head, a strong hand, and above all, a great heart ... I am inclined to think that most of the men who will achieve this greatness will be women,” with the quip attributed to Melvil Dewey (you have heard of him, right?) from a publication known as Library Jokes and Jottings.

At one time, library scofflaws could face fines and/‚Äčor jail time. Based on a Toledo ordinance approved in December, 1930, a patron who failed to promptly respond to official overdue notices could be found guilty of a misdemeanor offense and fined up to $25. Tougher was the punishment for anyone who dared to provide a false name or address in order to obtain possession of any library material. Such practice of deceit was punishable by a fine of up to $25 or up to 10 days in jail — or both.

Earlier, in 1908, Toledo police officers, riding motorcycles to offenders’ homes, began retrieving long overdue materials.

It’s a kinder, gentler, customer-friendly system these days (to help set up children for success, children can “read off” fines — 15 minutes of supervised reading erases $1 in fines). The library sends a courtesy notice via email or text three days before items are due to remind customers to return or renew their checked out items. Overdue notices are sent when items are two weeks overdue, and a bill is sent when materials are four-weeks overdue. Items returned are charged overdue fines to a maximum of $5 per item. Notices are sent via mail, email, and text. A long ride through time from the Pony Express and telegraph lines, eh?

And don’t fret about a knock at the door that prompts a scramble to find those overdue books. Police no longer circulate the city to retrieve library material from patrons’ homes.