HARRISON, N.Y. – Even the dead apparently have to pay the fines on their overdue books at one Westchester County library.
Elizabeth Schaper said she was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that her late mother had checked out of a Harrison Public Library branch.
"I was in shock," Schaper said. "This has rocked me to my core."
Schaper's mother, Ethel Schaper, died at the age of 87 on Sept. 16 after suffering a massive stroke. A few days later, Schaper said she found a library book, "The Price of Silence," by Camilla Trinchieri, that her mother had checked out from the library.
"My mother was an avid reader — she read an average of two books a week," Schaper said. "She was a frequent patron of the library."
Schaper said she returned the book last week, and was stunned when the man behind the library counter told her of the 50-cent fee.
"I told him that maybe he didn't hear me right, that my mother had just died, otherwise I'm sure that she would have returned it on time," Schaper said. "His only reply was that, 'That will be 50 cents."'
Connie Perrotta, a secretary for the director of the Harrison Public Library, confirmed the incident occurred but said that the library would have no comment.
Schaper said a couple days after the incident another library employee called to apologize and offered to return the fine she had paid.