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KAI RYSSDAL: On a day when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates all over the place in response to the credit crunch, we begin our letters segment with your credit rating. Last week commentator Susan Lee pointed out how something as annoying as library fines can hurt you in that regard. Chris Olson wouldn’t be shooshed when he heard that. Mr. Olson’s the director of the library system in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He says small fines aren’t going to do any damage, but if they’re bigger than that, well, you deserve what you get.

CHRIS OLSON: If you have hundreds of dollars of materials out — and after numerous reminders to return them you don’t — well, basically you’re a thief and you should not only be reported to the credit bureau. But perhaps even to the sheriff.

Libraries across the country are undoubtedly much busier now that school’s back in session. We ran a series a couple of weeks ago about some of the troubles young college students are facing. And how many high school seniors are looking to cheaper two-year schools instead of traditional four-year universities. Sandra Gonzales-Torres works at the Community College of Philadelphia. She wrote to point out junior colleges and universities aren’t really two separate tracks — that students often use community colleges as a first step on the long journey to a bachelor’s degree.

Sandra Gonzales-Torres: It make not take them four years. It may not be that residential experience. But they are able to complete that if they wish.

Before you can *go to college you’ve got to get *into college. Some schools are looking for new ways to get diverse student bodies. Using financial affirmative action as well as race-based. But Tracy Glover Williams of Shaker Heights, Ohio, says rich minorities are still a minority.

Tracy Glover Williams: Where are all these mythical children of African American doctors that steal slots from more deserving white children? At my doctor’s office there is not a single, black doctor in the entire practice.

Speaking of professionals, last week Cash Peters took us to the world of virtual offices — workplaces that exist purely as fronts for telecommuters. Bill Williams of Perrysburg, Ohio, says he started using a false front back in the 1970s when he was a film and television consultant. And he’s kept his eye out for ’em since then.

Bill Williams: In any major city you can go into office buildings and whenever you find a building directory that has a dozen or more companies all with the same suite number, bingo! You’ve just found another virtual office.

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