A novel idea: Library allows teens to pay off fines with creative tasks

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The St. Paul Public Library has said it is willing to waive the fines currently owed by teenagers for overdue books – provided they learn something first.

As part of a new initiative that will run throughout December, teens can pay off their library fines and fees $5 at a time by carrying out any one of a list of tasks that helps them learn and hone their creative skills with modern technology.

The library is calling it the "Do Down," and has published a list of tasks for indebted teens on a press release on its website.

Activities in the library that teens can do to reduce what they owe include making a stop-motion animation using the 6-second video app Vine, taking a selfie with a green-screen, and making an LED greeting card.

It's not just limited to technology either, with teens challenged to use their ingenuity to make tangle-free earbuds, or to create something 5-feet tall with materials provided by the library.

"We are excited to give teens the chance to get their library cards back in working order while also letting them explore creative processes and get their hands on some technology," says youth services coordinator Marika Staloch in the release.

The fines can be worked off at the library's Createch sites, where youths can try out new creative technologies, with locations including the Arlington Hills Community Center and at the Highland, Rice Street, Rondo and Sun Ray Library branches, the Pioneer Press reports.

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