Newark, Ohio—Licking County Library (LCL) is officially fine free. That means no penalties for patrons who are late returning books, movies or any materials—no matter if it is a few days or a few weeks. The Library’s goal is to remove the barriers to its resources and services while continuing its mission of serving a community of life-long learners.
Deb Holman, Head of Branch Services, explains “I have been wanting to remove fines associated with borrowing for years. Late last year the library decided to make it a priority and added it to our strategic plan. I am thrilled we can remove the barriers so everyone can use the library when they need.”
Over the years, patrons have expressed concern over fees. Many have felt stress over getting materials turned in on time as well as finding the money to pay their fees. A large population of LCL patrons have lower income. Many don’t drive and rely on others for transportation. LCL feels patrons, as taxpayers, have already paid for the materials; they should not be penalized for returning them late.
Holman said “We serve a large population of seniors and residents on a fixed income. The amount of fine money that LCL receives is just one percent of our operating budget. It doesn’t make sense to penalize patrons for such a small amount.”
Licking County Library patrons will, however, still be responsible for lost materials. Once material is 40 days overdue, then it becomes “lost” and patrons will remain monetarily responsible for “lost” items.
Official “Fine Free” kicks off for National Library 2017; April 9 – 15. However, LCL began forgiving fine on March 16, 2017. So far feedback has been extremely positive and patrons have expressed appreciation.