KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Speeding tickets having been helping Kalamazoo County libraries for over 50 years.
The program has been running since 1964, turning fines to funding for libraries.
“Penal fines or violations, infractions of law, those revenues or costs that are associated with it, a portion of it gets paid to public libraries to help support programming services and collections,” Kalamazoo Public Library Director Ryan Weiber said. “It’s been in place for a longtime and libraries depend on it to a certain degree.”
The Kalamazoo County treasurer's office stated this year they’ve distributed $323,723 to public libraries in the area, which is up 11% from last year.
“Specifically here at Kalamazoo Public Library, I think the amount that we’re receiving this year is about $150,000 which is a tremendous amount,” Wieber said. “It’s a benefit to our patrons here, 116,000 residents within our district here in Kalamazoo.”
He said the money they receive only makes 1% of their operating costs. However, they're grateful for it. The KPL is largely funded by property taxes through a millage. So the money from speeding tickets helps supplement that.
"It goes towards everything, everything that we do well here," Wieber said. "All of our programs, our collections and we see it as a great benefit to all of our patrons."