January

11

Toledo Library goes Fine Free

Posted Jan 11th, 2019 by Kelsey Cogan  Category: Community Interest, General News, Toledo.com

 

Fines for late items/materials have always been part of the Library experience. But should they be?

Charging overdue fines is not a strong motivator to return Library materials on time. For many families in the Lucas County community, overdue fines serve as a real barrier to access. And for those who can afford to pay them, the small fee is not a very effective incentive to return materials on time.

To improve access and opportunity in our community, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) eliminated overdue fines effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The negative consequences of overdue fines far outweigh the positive aspects of eliminating them for communities across the country. In fact, Library systems that have phased out charging late fees have seen increases in the amount of materials borrowed, without any significant increase in materials not returned. Ohio Libraries that are now fine-free include Columbus Metropolitan Library, Dayton Metropolitan Library, Wood County District Public Library, Way Public Library, Stark County District Library and Westerville Public Library.

Fines and fees make up less than one percent of funding for TLCPL. Enforcing, collecting, managing and explaining fines to customers who are confused or upset over fines costs money. It also takes a lot of time for Library staff, time that would be better served helping customers in more positive ways. In short, the Library doesn’t rely on the money received from overdue fines to run the system and the expenses simply do not justify the activity.

Eradicating overdue fines does not mean eliminating accountability. Customers who haven’t returned or renewed books won’t be able to check out additional ones. Customers will receive reminders to return items on the due date and once they are one week overdue will be delivered by phone, email or text at no extra cost. TLCPL also offers easy online and mobile technology options for renewing items to help customers keep their accounts current. If materials are returned, there will not be an overdue fine.

For more information visit http://www.toledolibrary.org/policies/nofines

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Kelsey Cogan - The Toledo Lucas County Public Library

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