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Librarians Tape Funny Videos Begging You to Return Late Books Without Fines

By Patty Wetli | February 16, 2016 5:41am

LINCOLN SQUARE — Forget "sexy librarian" — the guardians of Chicago's stacks are going full stop funny in a series of videos aimed at spreading the word about Chicago Public Library's fine amnesty.

On Feb. 4, the library announced it would waive late fees on books, CDs, DVDs, etc. handed over by Feb. 18.

"We want you to come back so bad that if 100 people return overdue books, every library staff member at the Richard M. Daley branch will talk like a robot for a day," librarian Erica Gamble vows in "We Promise," demonstrating a sampling of her pitch-perfect cyborg monotone.

Gamble, a librarian at the Daley branch, is also one of the stars of "Top 5," in which she and her colleagues recount some of the most egregiously overdue books in history.

Still think returning overdue items is too embarrassing? Here's advice for patrons on how to adopt a disguise to escape judgment:

If guilt alone isn't enough to spur patrons to come clean with hoarded items, try this for a compelling reason: "I love the smell of books but ever since you haven't returned your overdue library books, it just smells like Patrick's lunch every day."

When all else fails, these normally mild-mannered bibliophiles lay down the law.

During the first week of the amnesty, the library had forgiven more than $100,000 in fines, according to a library spokesman.

The library last offered blanket amnesty back in 2012, a first since 1985. More than 100,000 overdue items were returned and $641,820 in fees were waived, according to city officials.

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