Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) in Columbus, Ohio, is fulfilling a common library goal, to provide more access to library resources, in a less-common way—eliminating daily late fees on library materials. “What it boils down to is that we want to make it easier for more customers to check out more materials and not be deterred by overdue fines,” said Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist at CML.
Posts Tagged ‘fines at the library’
The idea of charging fines for overdue materials can be a contentious one in our field. While the question does bring out strong opinions, the fact remains that libraries still charge fines, and many also have programs to waive or work off those fines.
Use of public resources is based on the premise of sharing. Like public parks and pools, public libraries have rules to ensure equal access. When a patron checks out a book, they must return it within a specified amount of time so other members of the public can access it. When a patron doesn’t return their book on time, or at all, not only is it not available for other patrons to enjoy, but the library also loses revenue replacing materials.
.On March 1, 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 466 into effect, taking a step toward recouping business losses for Wisconsin’s public libraries that tally in the millions. According to a report by WTMJ-TV, Wisconsin library patrons annually fail to return $3 million in taxpayer-owned materials. Instead of encouraging patrons to be more conscientious, however, will this bill do more harm to Wisconsin’s library patronage? With the possible consequences, patrons may look for new options to borrowing materials from a brick-and-mortar library.
Is it time for public libraries to end overdue fines in order to remove this very common practice as a barrier to access? Libraries in the northwest suburbs of Chicago seem to think so.
In the fiscal year 2012 book thieves stole over 70,000 books from the Brooklyn Public Library. Most of us working in public libraries have experienced theft at one point or another, but how does this much thievery go on with the news not reporting on it until 2014?
When patrons face financial difficulties, what can libraries do to help? These fine prevention and reduction programs offer creative solutions to keep patrons in good standing, even when times are tough.