PHOENIXVILLE - Unburden yourself of that guilt, save a bit of cash and help a local charity feed the needy - return those overdue library books and materials during Amnesty Week.

In honor of National Library Week, Sunday, April 18, through Saturday, April 24, at the Phoenixville Public Library all fines will be forgiven for overdue items returned to the library in good condition.

No matter how long overdue, patrons are off the hook if they bring along a canned good or non-perishable item for Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS).

The last time the library ran an amnesty program was in 1997.

"Our amnesty program is long overdue," quipped Director John Kelley. "Our primary goal is to get the material back.

"This gives people the opportunity to return items that they might otherwise have feared to return," said Kelley.

Circulation Manager Anne Donovan wants those books returned "that we might have never seen again."

"Libraries are about sharing books," said Donovan. "When books come back to circulate again and again, more people have the opportunity to read them."

Director of Development Kathleen Wierz appreciates that those in need will benefit by donations to the PACS food pantry.

"This is a really important community effort during National Library Week with the two organizations working together for a better community," said Wierz.

Carol Berger, executive director of PACS said that last year 2,000 children, adults and seniors benefited from the services provided by PACS, especially the food pantry. PACS provides temporary emergency assistance, information and referral services to those who live in the area.

"PACS is delighted to be working together with the library on the amnesty program that will benefit the library's members and the greater community in need of food at PACS," said Berger. "PACS serves at least 80 families monthly and the donations will certainly help to serve the people in need of our emergency food bank."

Guidelines for Amnesty from fines are:

* Return library materials (books, videos, periodicals, CDs, DVDs and audio books) with canned or boxed food or a non-perishable item. All overdue items are eligible even if they are 20 years overdue.

* Fines will be deleted on overdue items, only. Pre-existing fines and materials that have previously been returned will not qualify for amnesty.

* All library materials must be returned to the circulation desk. Items may not be returned to bookdrops to qualify for fine amnesty.

* Receipts will not be issued for returned items.

* You may donate canned or boxed food, non-perishable items, diapers, toiletries and paper products even if you do not have overdue items.

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