CHESTERVILLE — Selover Public Library has eliminated overdue fines.
Since the pandemic began last spring, the library has not been charging fines for overdue materials. At first, patrons were not able to return items while the library was closed. Then items were quarantined for a few days before getting checked in, a system still in place. The easiest way to ensure patrons were not getting charged for these items was to eliminate fines.
Now the library has decided to make the change permanent.
“Patrons love not having fines,” said Connie Henthorn, a librarian at Selover Library. “And I enjoy telling the patrons that they have no fines.”
Librarians will be able to share even more good news: all past overdue fines are also forgiven from patrons’ accounts. Library users only need to return their overdue materials to begin using the resources at Selover Public Library again.
“This is where more and more libraries are headed,” says Selover Library Director Suzi Lyle. “Libraries are finding that the people who most need the resources that libraries provide are being kept away because they don’t have money for their overdue fines.” She said that studies have also shown that charging overdue fines does not make people return their items any better. Removing the fines becomes a “win-win for the library and the community.”
Library users are still responsible for lost and damaged materials. For now, an item that is 30 days overdue will be considered lost, and patrons will not be able to check out more materials until they return or pay for the item. Selover Library will send notifications when an item is 10 days late and again at 20 days late to remind patrons.
If patrons feel bad about returning things late, library staff is always happy to take their donations.
“But no guilt and no judgment here,” says Selover librarian Martha Wall. “We’re just happy to get items back so others can enjoy them.”
Complete details about the library’s overdue policy can be found on the library’s Website at seloverlibrary.org. The library is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-7, Thursdays and Fridays from 10-5 and Saturdays from 10-3.