While most libraries around the country are doing their best to remain relevant, one Texas town has decided to speed up its library’s demise by threatening to arrest residents who don’t return books on time.
A recently passed ordinance in Copperas Cove allows courts to issue arrest warrants for library patrons who have had a book checked out for over 90 days and have not responded to requests — by phone, email, or otherwise — to return the book.
Jory Enck was arrested last week after he was found to be in possession of a GED study guide that was checked out in 2010.
Municipal judge Bill Price told KWTX the law was passed because Copperas Cove was “spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn’t return.”
Price acknowledged that there was “universal hatred” for the law among locals because “nobody wants to get arrested over a library book.”
Which is apparently something that is happening “quite frequently,” according to Sgt. Julie Lehmann of the Copperas Cove Police Department.
She told Yahoo News that her fellow officers are not “actively out there going after these felony book thieves,” but often a run of someone’s driver’s license during a traffic stop will bring up a “library warrant.”
As for Enck, KWTX reports that he returned his overdue book the day after he was released from jail on a $200 bond.