The New York Public Library is the last place where children must face the consequences of delinquency and (unlike in many New York restaurants) the expectation that they will sit politely and be quiet. Or so we thought! In a shocking display of kindness, the NYPL has pardoned some 143,000 children who have library fines greater than $15, even allowing them work off their fines at a generous pace of $1 per 15 minutes of reading.
The Daily News profiles one such delinquent, the so-called “Bronx library legend,” Rafiyu Afnan Mahmood, aged 10, who has read hundreds of books in a matter of months. His profligacy has cost him, however — the insatiable reader has racked up a total of $18 in fines, to be precise. Now Mr. Mahmood will make these debts vanish in less than five hours, during which time he will also probably read 20 to 30 books.
(Okay, we’ll admit we’re totally charmed: he says he wants to be a neurosurgeon, but we know he’ll end up a writer. A boy after our own hearts, really. Somebody get this kid a scholarship and an agent.)