Public library is going fine free

Philip A. Janquart
by Nicole Miller
 The Weiser Public Library is eliminating fines for overdue books. All fines accrued for overdue books have been waived and accounts will no longer be charged for books that are returned late. 
 Items that are kept for ten days past their due date will be considered lost and patrons will be charged for a replacement of the item plus a $5 processing fee. This charge will be waived when the item is returned. However, once an item has been overdue for 100 days, that item will be removed from the records and it belongs to the person who did not return it. That person must pay for the replacement plus a $5 processing fee.
 Anyone with charges of $10 or more will have their library card privileges suspended from borrowing materials as well as the use of the digital resources through Libby app. 
 Library Director Timbra Long shared that she has been planning to make this transition at the beginning of the year for a little while. She attended a rural library conference and many of the libraries participating have moved to fine free policies as well.
 Long said that the main reason libraries are eliminating the overdue fines is goodwill. Especially in rural and lower-income areas, many libraries are trying to lessen the barriers that may stop lower income families from using the library. The idea is that no one benefits from people avoiding using the library either because they have fines or because they are afraid of accruing fines. 
 Libraries, Weiser included, do not make significant revenue from fines. Many of the libraries that have gone fine free have noticed little to no difference because many people are happy to make more donations to the library knowing that they won’t be charged late fees. 
 Long also shared that many people also believe that fines exist to teach kids responsibility. This is simply not the case; it’s not the library’s job to teach anyone responsibility. The information that they have gotten from other libraries is that people are very good about getting their books returned. In fact, as fines have been forgiven, previously missing items have been returned. 
 Long hopes that this simplified approach would be beneficial to both the library and the community. Although there is a significant list of missing materials that Long would love to see recovered, the 25 cents a day isn’t going to make or break any libraries’ budgets. The hassle, however, of carrying cash to cover the few dollars from hanging onto a book a few extra days, might keep a family from coming to a library and that is not beneficial to anyone. 


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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