In the past 15 years, public libraries across the United States, and most recently in Oregon, have investigated the results of charging late fines for overdue items. Research has shown that late fines are not effective and have no impact on return rates. In fact, fines have the unintended consequence of preventing a community’s most vulnerable populations from using library services.
Historically, overdue fines amount to less than 0.5 percent of our budget. As a result, they have little 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 damages and materials not returned. After 20 days, replacement costs will be charged for lost items unless they are returned.