Texas mom says she was issued an arrest warrant for her kids’ overdue library books – NBC Chicago

A Texas stay-at-home mom said she was trying to renew her driver’s license when she learned there was a warrant out for her arrest over overdue library books.

“I was so angry. I was sad and angry,” Kaylee Morgan told NBC News in a phone call Wednesday. “The whole week leading up to the trial, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to laugh or cry.”

Morgan, a mother of five, said she took five or six books from the Navasota Public Library in Navasota, about 115 miles east of Austin, last March for her home-schooled children.

At the time, Morgan said she was pregnant and suffering from hyperemesis, extreme morning sickness and placenta previa, when the placenta covers the opening to the cervix. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this can cause bleeding early in the second half of pregnancy and mild cramping or contractions.

Morgan said the books were a few weeks to a month overdue when her husband dropped them off, except for one book that didn’t fit in the library drop box. Her stepson then placed the book in the library, she said.

NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston obtained a copy of the overdue notice from the library stating that Morgan had two books due March 31, 2023. The notice, dated April 10, 2023, stated that she owed a $1 fee.

A week later, the library sent what it said was a second and final notice. He said Morgan had 10 days to return the books and pay a new $2 fine or the case would go back to court.

A city ordinance states that failure to return books or library items within 30 days of the due date results in the suspension of their library card. If a person does not respond to the complaint letter within 10 days of receiving it, it is considered a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Morgan said she did not receive the overdue notices from the library because they were sent to an old address. The library never called her about overdue books, she said.

It wasn’t until she went to renew her driver’s license last month that she was told she had a warrant for a ticket for nearly $570.

Navasota Public Library referred NBC News to city attorney Cary Bovey. Bovey could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Morgan, who said his family couldn’t afford the ticket, said the whole ordeal had been stressful and wondered why the penalty for overdue library books was so strict.

“I offered to pay for the books. I offered to pay the late fee, but I can’t pay $600,” she said. “I understand we have deadlines for a reason and everything else, but there has to be a better way to cultivate community engagement, instead of tearing the community apart.”

“You could come and read books to the kids for community service, you could help build the Little Free Library or you could bring canned goods,” she said. “A number of things could be done.”

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