Overdue Book Arrest

The city of Baytown in East Harris County isn't kidding with people who don't return overdue library books. They can go to jail, as Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

Click to Listen

A Baytown woman learned that to her great dismay this week when she was stopped for a traffic violation. She got tickets for running a stop sign, no insurance and no driver's license, and a check for outstanding warrants turned up an overdue library book. She was taken to jail and ended up paying a $118 fine and $50 court costs. Baytown Assistant City Manager Kelvin Knauf says the lady was given plenty of due process chances to return that book, but she ignored them.

"She was arrested for not coming to court. There had been letters that had been sent to her letting her know that her library books were overdue, asking her to come in, return the books and pay the fines, and that went out from the library, and from our legal department, and then the summons from the court, and she didn't respond to any of those."

Knauf says Baytown not returning library books is a misdemeanor crime in Baytown, but it's very rare for someone to go to jail over it.

"If they do owe library fines or other citations, we're very willing to work with them as long as they're willing to work with us. You know, certainly this is a case where the lady just would not respond."

Knauf says Baytown is a nice friendly town, but it also has a hardnosed attitude toward people who forget to bring their library books back. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.