December 17, 2017

Nashville, Salt Lake City, Columbus Eliminate Fines

Starting the first week of July 2017, the Nashville Public Library (NPL) and the Salt Lake City Public Library system (SLCPL) have joined the increasing number of public libraries in the United States that no longer collect overdue fines from patrons. These changes will also wipe out fines that users have already accrued. For both systems, this shift reflects their missions to remove a barrier to library borrowing—blocked card privileges due to fines and to provide equitable access to as many patrons as possible.

Doing Fine(s)? | Fines & Fees

Fees and fines have traditionally been a fact of life for public libraries in America, even though a nonnegligible proportion of librarians and patrons have long considered fines at best an unpleasant hassle and at worst a serious barrier to access to resources for those unable to pay them. As many libraries continue to assess and overhaul their fine and fee structures, sponsored by Comprise Technologies, LJ surveyed a random selection of public librarians in January 2017 to learn about their libraries’ approaches to fines and fees. LJ received 454 responses.

Wisconsin Law Validates Library Use of Collection Agencies

On Monday, February 29, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that would authorize the enlistment of outside parties—collection agencies, or, in some cases, the police—to help recover late fees, fines, and unreturned materials for that state’s libraries, a problem that reportedly cost $3.5 million in the last year alone.