The Pima County Public Library is accepting donations of food in exchange for writing down late fines.

The annual Food for Fines program is part of National Library Week. Libraries in other cities do the same.

Patrons can bring non-perishable food donations to be given to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and other area food banks. For each food item, $1 worth of late fees can be written off, up to $10 per person, said Kenya Johnson, the library's community relations manager.

“I believe it’s a really great opportunity for people to eliminate some of the fines on their account and come into the library and feel good about it and check out more books or more CDs or more audio books, whatever it is that they like to check out," she said.

Last year the library accepted more than 10,000 items of food and wrote off more than $8,000 in fines, she said.

The program can be used only for fines accrued for returning materials late, she said. It does not apply to other fines, such as for damage or loss.

The program is available at all 27 Pima County Public Library branches. Most locations are open until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the last day to replace fines with food donations.

Listen:

Download as MP3