Many local parents believe that the library has crossed a line.
One Charlton mother recalled the moment when police were sent to collect her daughter’s overdue library books, with her 5-year-old girl so afraid that she burst into tears.
Shannon Benoit received the visit to be informed that her daughter had two books several months overdue which needed to be returned or paid for.
“I thought it was way overboard,” says Benoit.
“I closed my door, I looked at my daughter and she started crying.”
Her daughter, Hailey was upset and confused, thinking that the police had come to arrest her.
“I was scared,” she said.
Shannon subsequently found the books and returned them to the library, but she believes that sending a police officer to their house was like “pounding a ten penny nail with a sledge hammer”.
Even the officer that made the house call, Charlton Police Sergeant Dan Dowd, admits that he wasn’t particularly keen on the procedure.
“Nobody wanted to, on this end, to get involved in it,” says Sgt. Dowd.
“But the library contacted us, and the chief delegated, and apparently I was one of the low men on the totem pole.”
It seems extraordinary, but the police decided to make the call, as state law does in fact outline a misdemeanor for such things, and a “friendly reminder might make a better impression and get better results than a cold summons to court,” writes CBS Boston.
However, Shannon and her daughter are adamant that they still haven’t received any written warnings.