ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Anne Arundel County Public Library doled out holiday favors to some 45,000 bibliophiles, waiving overdue fines for items borrowed between Sept. 24 and Dec. 14 of 2018.
On Oct. 4, the library system fell victim to an attack by the Emotet virus, forcing the shut down of public computers, the library said in a statement. Printing, faxing, copying, and scanning were unavailable until recently as well. The libraries remained open as they navigated the technological disruption.
“Despite huge hurdles to overcome, library staff continued to provide exemplary customer service,” library CEO Hampton “Skip” Auld said in a statement. “Using their creativity and persistence, these hardworking library professionals adeptly served our customers, because we know how much residents depend on us for information, education and inspiration.”
As the library system worked to restore and upgrade systems, many patrons did not get overdue notices, prompting the waiving of fees incurred during that time period. Fines for lost or damaged materials, or from late fees aggregated before the computer problems, are still in effect, the library said.
The library has already waived roughly $20,000 in fines, but those who paid fines incurred during the “disaster period” can visit or contact a library branch to get credit put towards their accounts, the Anne Arundel County Library system said. Addresses and branches can be found online.
“While this disaster caused a major upheaval to our library system, we are coming out a stronger and more nimble organization with a new state of the art technology infrastructure,” Auld said in a statement. “We look forward to better serving our community in 2019 and beyond.”