A mother was charged, fingerprinted and hauled before a judge for returning two children’s library books two years late. Melinda Sanders-Jones is stunned by how harshly she is being treated after forgetting to return Where the Sidewalk Ends and Night to Charlotte Community Library in Missouri.
She discovered there was a warrant out for an arrest after failing a background check for a promotion at her job. Speaking to the global media Melinda said, "My boss called me on Tuesday to inform me that I had a warrant and I had to pull over because I started laughing and he was like 'No, I’m serious.' And I was like, no, there’s no way…"
Further talking about the unusual situation she said, "I really don’t think that going to jail over those two books is OK, and I definitely didn’t want to steal their property." Sanders-Jones returned the books several months ago, after visiting the library and discovering she was barred from using its printer.
She called her fiance, who located the tomes on her son’s bookshelf, and brought them back in. On discovering she was in even deeper trouble, Sanders-Jones turned herself in to the police. But the library had already escalated action and explained that it had sent out multiple notices spanning four months before doing so.
Sanders-Jones had been living in a women’s shelter at the time after leaving an abusive relationship, meaning she was unable to collect her mail from her former home. She told WILX: "I ended in the Siren Shelter that’s here in Charlotte that helps with domestic violence victims and your address is confidential. I had to change my phone number…I had to change my entire life."
Charlotte Library has refused to comment further on Sanders-Jones’ case, citing confidentiality. She is now awaiting her next court hearing and hoping she can persuade a judge to drop the charges.