Just in time for the Summer Reading Program, our library is now fine free for children and teens!
That’s right! — we no longer charge fines on items for children and young adults, and all existing fines will be waived. This ensures that all youth have access to library books and materials, which is our primary purpose as a public library.
In the past 15 years, public libraries across the US, and most recently in Oregon, have investigated the efficacy of charging late fines for overdue items. Research has shown that late fines are not effective and do not have any impact on return rates. In fact, fines have the unintended consequence of preventing a community’s most vulnerable populations from using library services.
Making this change effective June 1 will help ensure that all children and teens can participate in the 2019 Summer Reading Program.
Historically, overdue fines amount to less than 0.5 percent of our budget; consequently, they have minimal impact on library operations.
However, these fines can have a significant impact on a family. You’ve seen the big piles of books kids check out. If those books come back even a few days late, the fines add up fast. The last thing we want to do is discourage families from using the library.
Patrons will continue to be responsible for materials not returned. After 20 days, replacement costs will be charged for lost items.
References and resources
American Library Association. (2017, February 06). Fines and Overdues. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/fines-and-overdues
American Library Association. Resolution on Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity.
Retrieved April 15, 2019, from http://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/governance/council/council_documents/2019_ms_council_docs/ALA%20CD%2038%20RESOLUTION%20ON%20MONETARY%20LIBRARY%20FINES%20AS%20A%20FORM%20OF%20SOCIAL%20Inequity%20Revised%201_27.pdf
DePriest, Meg Johnson. Removing Barriers to Access: Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s
Materials. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/removingbarrierstoaccess
Dixon, J. A., & Gillis, S. A. (2017, April 4). Doing Fine(s)? | Fines & Fees. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=doing-fines-fines-fees
Dwyer, J. (2017, May 05). Libraries Are Fining Children Who Can’t Afford to Be Without Books. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/nyregion/library-fines-children-books.html
“Economic Barriers to Information Access,” Interpretations of the Bill of Rights, American Library Association, Accessed July 5, 2017.
Miller, R. T. (2016, February 16). Adversary or Ally? The trouble with fines and fees | Editorial. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=adversary-or-ally-the-trouble-with-fines-and-fees-editorial
“Removing Barriers to Access: Eliminating Library Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials,” Colorado State Library, 2016.