Massachusetts Library Waives Late Fees with Cat Photos and It's a Purrfect Success

The Worcester Public Library in Worcester, Massachusetts won the hearts of me, you and every cat lover on earth with their amazing March Meowness fine forgiveness program where they forgave library overdue fines in exchange for cat pics.

The library received over 10,000 cat pics (and drawings!) from all over via social media, comments, messages, emails, in-person, snail mail and even one fax.

WCVB reports, "Linnea Sheldon, Community Relations and Communications Manager for the library told WCVB that due to the success of the program, staff were given permission to eliminate fees on all accounts that were blocked. While they don't yet have a dollar figure, Sheldon says 2,874 patrons can now use their account fully."

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This is so amazing because libraries are one of the very most important parts of a community and for those people to be able to check out books again just because they shared a cat photo is incredible.

There was other fantastic news along with the success of the program, and the news article also reports Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty presented the staff members with keys to the city for their ideas.

They report foot traffic in the library was up 50% in comparison with last year, and they plan to work with other libraries to develop similar programming.

"We definitely think March Meowness is going to be a recurring theme every year," Sheldon wrote, "but have no plans on what that will look like at this time."

This year's March Meowness not only had the library fee forgiveness program, the library has cat themed events all March long, including DIY cat toys (which can also be donated), a cat eye makeup tutorial, a De-Stress with Cats from the Worcester Animal Rescue League - which entails hanging out with rescue cats, and lots of other themed activities.

Library staff shared on Facebook: We have reached the final day of March Meowness, and want to thank the dream team who brought this initiative to WPL, and were honored with a Key to the City for their efforts. Our library has received over 10,000 cat photos from around the world, allowing us to forgive fees and unblock 2,874 accounts! We also increased foot traffic to all of our locations over 50% compared to last year. This is in addition to hundreds of news stories, thousands of shares, and even more positive comments, spreading the love of libraries far and wide!

Thank you also goes out to all our staff who worked so hard to make this program a success, forgiving fees, responding to emails, printing and hanging cat photos, and as always, providing stellar customer service to all our patrons!

We can't wait to see what activities the library has for March Meowness next year, and we hope other libraries take some ideas from Worcester and go for it!

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