Libraries will have twice as long to find patrons who owe fines, the Columbus Metropolitan Library's newly created records commission has ruled. Patrons who owed $25 or less had their debts wiped clean after three years when the library threw out their records. The commission voted last to keep the records for six years, giving the library more time to collect. Fines in excess of $25 are handled by an outside collection agency and aren't forgotten, said Dewitt D. Harrell, the library system's chief financial officer. The change gives the library more time to contact patrons who have stopped using the library, Harrell said. At the same time, patrons can be reminded of how much money they owe. "Just because someone has a small fine, we don't want to lose them as customers," said Kim Snell, a library spokeswoman. "We would hate to think somebody was not visiting the library for three years because they owe a $1.50 fine." At any given time, about 40,000 library cardholders, who have no items checked out, owe at least $10 in fines each, according to library records.