, Port Arthur, Texas

October 16, 2013

Pay your fine with food at Groves Library

The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Are you in possession of a library book you checked out in 2008 but forgot to return?  At Groves Public Library, the month of November, 2013 will be designated as “Food for Fine Month”.

All month long, library users will have the chance to locate and return overdue materials and pay no monetary fines. The library is asking only that the user provide a food item for the collection box in lieu of any charges. At the end of November, all food items collected will be donated to the Southeast Texas Food Bank in Beaumont.

“If a user brings in more than one overdue item, it is suggested that two or three food items be donated, “said Deborah Harper, Groves Library Director. “We need cooperation in this effort because money that is spent on library items essentially goes to waste if only one person uses a title and then forgets to return it. We try to simply the return process with online patron renewals and book drops available 24/7 but still many users will hold on to materials in fear of paying a fine. This “fine free” effort should alleviate that fear and do some good to needy families as well.  The main thing is to get the items back so we don't have to replace them, and to get our patrons back in good standing so they can continue to check out books and use other resources, including our computers.”

The Southeast Food Bank provides over 20,000 households food each month from member agencies. They serve the counties of Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, Sabine, and Tyler. They distribute to approximately 130 nonprofit agencies within these eight counties. Items accepted by the food bank are peanut butter, canned chili, canned stews, canned soup, canned lunch meat, canned tuna, beans and rice, boxed mac and cheese, cereal, and full meals in can or box.

In addition, the library will also be accepting cash donations which are equally important and are used to operate the Southeast Texas Food Bank’s warehouse, to purchase much of the food, to pay for utilities to run our huge freezers and coolers, and to cover fuel and maintenance for refrigerated trucks.

The “Food for Fine” drive will not apply to already recorded fines that are on a user’s record—only the charges that would be accumulated for items that are returned during November. Please note that this does not include fines accrued in the past or replacement fines for lost or damaged items.  Library items must be undamaged in order to qualify. Even if you don't have a late fee, you can still leave a donation! Bins will be provided for non-perishable food donations. The library cannot accept any food item past its expiration date, items in glass containers, items separated from multipacks, sample-sized items, nor perishable items. Items will be accepted at the discretion of staff.

Groves Public Library is located at 5600 West Washington, Groves, TX. The main library phone is 409-962-6281. The library website is For more information on the Food Bank of Southeast Texas go to their website at