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Subject:
From:
Jeff Cabral <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Jeff Cabral <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Fri, 1 Feb 2013 14:53:04 -0500
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Hi all

Thanks Pam.

Mamie is correct, we do in fact use a collection agency but I hadn't  
had a chance to respond yet. We use Amerassist, which was a  
recommendation from Portland Public. We have had very good luck. You  
pay in advance a 'per account' cost so there's a necessity for outlay  
of expenditure up front, but we have made our investment back in  
returned materials (based on replacement value) already and still have  
a couple of hundred accounts left to pursue (that we have already paid  
for). You basically pay for x number of accounts at a time and  
're-stock' that when you run out.

It's definitely a learning curve (like with anything) in terms of how  
to use their web-based software and providing updates when people  
become delinquent or pay off their accounts but fortunately our own  
Jackie McCann (with the help of Kathleen Spahn at PPL and the trainers  
from Amerassist) has the system well in hand now. We are still  
learning (we have been doing it for less than a year), but Jackie does  
a terrific job staying on top of what is a constantly moving target.

Contact details for Amerassist - John Seni, 508 419-1794 (cell)

They have multiple 'phases' of collection and we were able to escalate  
older accounts into a more aggressive phase. As others have said,  
sometimes an initial indication and even the mere threat of having it  
on one's credit report is enough of a jolt or reminder to get material  
back.

We have had less luck pursuing older accounts with people who have  
moved on or were possibly visiting/transient to begin with, but I  
think that's less about Amerassist's abilities as it is just the  
nature of the beast with people who don't want to be found!

As an aside, we have started collecting birthdates as a result to help  
in tracking people (when people are willing to give them, which in  
most cases, they are).

Jeff

Jeff Cabral
Library Director
McArthur Public Library
Box 346
Biddeford, ME 04005

(207) 284-4181

[log in to unmask]
www.mcarthurlibrary.org


Quoting "Pamela Jenkins" <[log in to unmask]>:

> As requested, here are responses to my query about using collection  
> agencies for unreturned items:
>
>
>
> We use the local police force as Gardiner has a city ordinance about  
> unreturned library items and there is also a state statute.  They  
> usually get our stuff back with 1 phone call....have not yet had to  
> go to court over it.  I know it seems heavy handed, but the  
> unreturned items add up to real money for my budget.
>
>
>
> Anne Davis
>
>
>
> Gardiner Public Library
>
> Director of Library and Information Services
>
> 152 Water Street
>
> Gardiner, ME 04345
>
> 207-582-3312
>
>
>
>
>
> We have had the local police visit the offender (only twice in the  
> past 14 years).  Very quick return.
>
>
>
> Thomas C. Bennett, Director
>
> Prince Memorial Library
>
> 266 Main Street
>
> Cumberland, Maine  04021-3607
>
> 207.829.2216
>
> 207.829.2221 (fax)
>
>
>
>
>
> There are several libraries that do use collection agencies that you  
> might want to contact directly - Biddeford and Portland (and  
> possibly Gray) are the two that come to mind immediately.  Also, I  
> saw an article in the NYT last year about NYC libraries using a  
> particular collection agency - Unique Management Services, Inc..   
> They have a division that works exclusively with libraries.  I  
> talked with them via phone and they sent me some brochures.  If you  
> are interested let me know and I'll send one up your way.  The  
> gentleman that I spoke with in June was Jonathan Hayes,  
> 800-879-5453, [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Mamie
>
>
>
> Mamie Anthoine Ney
>
> Consultant
>
> Southern Maine Library District
>
> Portland Public Library, 3rd Flr.
>
> 5 Monument Square
>
> Portland, ME 04101
>
> 207-871-1765/800-649-7696
>
> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>
>
>
> The Auburn Public Library uses a collection agency. I would say our  
> experience has been good!
>
> The agency is Unique Management Services, Inc. based in Indiana. We  
> activate accounts that owe $40 or more in material. The UMS agency  
> adds a $10 fee to customer's accounts. We manually add a "Juvenile  
> Processing Fee" for accounts activated for juvenile material since  
> we do not have an overdue charge for these materials. This total fee  
> will not exceed
>
> $25 for a total of $35 after the agency fee.
>
>
>
> To flag juvenile accounts we use the "Linked Patrons" tab. We flag  
> both parent and juvenile accounts blocking them from checking out  
> material since the parent is the responsible party. However, we do  
> not block siblings accounts if they remain in good standing.
>
>
>
> If you have any further questions please contact me!
>
>
>
> Sylvie Martin
>
> Lending Services Technician
>
> Auburn Public Library
>
> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
>
> Pamela Jenkins
> Asst. Director and Youth Services Mngr.
> Curtis Memorial Library
> 23 Pleasant St.
> Brunswick, ME  04011
> 207-725-5242
> [log in to unmask]
>

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