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In the early summer the library switched to an entirely new interface. Not an event that would be call for much notice on the part of the public, but there were certain perks that came with the temporary inconvenience.

Perks that I’m not sure you even know about.

Perks that involve your library books.

Right now.

The ones stacked on your coffee table that you were definitely going to return last week because that’s when they were due, only you forgot.

So you go into your account to renew them and . . . that’s odd. Weren’t they due last week? Because now your account says they aren’t due for another two weeks! What the heck is going on?

Introducing automatic renewals. The system is simple. You are allowed to renew your items three times (unless they’re Most Wanteds or Hot Picks or something similarly high-demand).

And normally you’d have to do that renewal yourself. Now the system does it for you when you hit your due date.

Pretty cool, right?

Does everything renew every time? Nope. Only the items that nobody has placed a reserve or hold upon.

So don’t think that you get an extra three weeks with that Bob Woodward book you’re hoarding. This is primarily useful for older items.

But wait! you say. Doesn’t automatic renewals mean fewer fines? And fewer fines mean less money for the library?

Here’s the dirty little secret about fines, folks. We don’t actually like charging you money. We don’t! We’re a library after all.

But we’re also a library that needs money to buy books, and truth be told, we don’t really have all that much of it. So while we can’t get rid of fines altogether, at least we can help you out a little.

But doesn’t this mean there will be fewer books on the shelves as people keep them longer?

Aw, honey, don’t worry about that. In my experience, people hold onto books as long as they want to anyway.

I’ll just make sure we have lots of lovely copies of everything, as often as possible.

So enjoy your books even longer. It’s just our library’s way of saying thank you for checking them out in the first place.