A Fine Friendly Library
As of 2019, the Monroe County Library System has joined a growing list of forward-thinking libraries eliminating fines.
Why eliminate fines?
Community engagement and national research reveal that overdue fines create a barrier to library use for many people. While many library users incur late fines, the ability to pay them depends greatly on income. Those who are able to pay can keep using the library, whereas those who are unable to pay, cannot. This runs counter to our mission of providing equitable service to all. In branches, we have seen that the fear of fines sometimes prevents parents from allowing their children to check out materials from our collection. Furthermore, data shows that the rate of return is not higher when people are fined for overdue materials. In many cases, people simply stop using the library.
So what will encourage patrons to return our materials if there are no fines?
Research shows that libraries charging overdue fines have similar return rates as those that do not charge fines. If items are overdue for more than 3 weeks, a block will merely be placed on the patrons account until the materials are returned.
Fees for long overdue materials are still in effect.