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Water for Fines program to help those in need

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The City of Tempe has come up with a unique new way to encourage library users to return overdue materials.

From now until July 27, the Tempe Public Library will accept donated bottles of water or non-perishable food items to help the homeless and less fortunate members of the community. In exchange for each item donated, the library will apply one dollar to that person's account.

The program will cover up to $30 or half the account balance, whichever is greater. Accounts in collection status are not eligible to participate.

To encourage generosity, a case of water will be counted as $30.

"This time of year food banks are down on donations and water is so important to help us," said Kris Baxter-Ging, Tempe Public Information Officer. "Our desert heat can get so intense, it can be deadly. We want to make sure people are comfortable and healthy all summer long."

Library users with no fines will instead be entered into a drawing for prizes, including autographed books and baskets filled with items made by Tempe merchants.

Baxter-Ging said in addition to helping the community, the program was designed to run concurrently with the library's summer reading program for kids. If a family has late fees, kids are unable to check out books or enroll in the program.

"We really want to make sure kids are reading all summer long," she said. "That's how they can avoid that summer slide where their skills wane before going back to school.

"So if you keep the kids reading, they're not bored, they're happy, they're learning and the homeless are hydrated. It's a beautiful thing."

For more information on "Water for Fines" visit the Tempe Public Library website.

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