In lieu of paying fines for overdue library books, the fifth annual “Food for Fines” food drive program at University Libraries is accepting non-perishable food items, including canned fruits or vegetables, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, pasta and soup as well as other canned food items. University Libraries will donate the food items and any cash donations received to the Vermillion Food Pantry. One food item is equal to $1. For example, $2 in fines will be waived with two items; $4 in late fees can be paid with four food items. The program runs now through Friday, Dec. 21.

“It’s a really positive thing for University Libraries and certainly rewarding for students who know that their fines, in this case food, is going to a good cause,” said Dan Daily, interim dean of University Libraries.

Julie Junker, access service manager for University Libraries, said that the idea for “Food for Fines” originated at a staff meeting five years ago as a way of encouraging food donations without discouraging students who accumulated minor fees from overdue library materials.

“At that time we decided, ‘let’s try it,’ and it worked well, so we’ve kept it going,” added Junker, who noted that the Vermillion Food Pantry collects up to five boxes of food from the USD food drive. “It’s mostly for students who have fines totaling $5 or less but a little bit goes a long ways.”

University Libraries is also accepting food and cash donations from the University Community at the Circulation Desk, which is located on the main floor of the I.D. Weeks building. Only unopened, pre-packaged and unexpired food will be accepted. Ramen noodles and perishable food items will not be accepted. For more information about “Food for Fines” or to provide a donation, please contact the University Libraries’ Circulation Desk at (605) 677-5373 or email

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