Do you have an overdue library book? Are you ashamed to return it because you owe fines? Or, are you frustrated because Champaign County roads keep flooding and you couldn’t return your book on time? The Champaign County Library has the solution!
In an effort to bring library materials back into circulation for more patrons to use, The Champaign County Library will waive fines and lost item charges for overdue items returned to the library through October 31, 2019. Patrons are still responsible for paying previous fines as well as for any lost or damaged items in order to keep their account in good standing.
Even though no overdue fines will be charged, due dates still apply. Library users will not be able to check out more items until overdue items have been renewed or returned. Notices will still be mailed or emailed reminding patrons to return items, and eventually, the cost of the items will be charged to the patron’s account, blocking them from using library services.
Many libraries across the country are going fine-free, as research shows that fines are more of a barrier to items being returned. Libraries that do not charge overdue fines are seeing more items being returned to their collections.
Overdue fines account for less than 1% of the Champaign County Library’s overall budget.
When lost items are popular titles or items in a series, the library will often purchase new copies to satisfy patron demand. As librarians attempt to get those overdue materials returned, more resources are spent with very little success. It’s like spending 50 cents to get a penny.
By going fine-free, the Champaign County Library hopes more items are returned to the collection and more people are able to use library services. If you have a book you’ve been hanging on to, now is the time to return it to the library.
And when life, or rain, or work, or whatever gets in the way and causes you to return your items late, don’t worry. Once you return your items, you’ll be back to borrowing again!
Ty Henderson is the director of the Champaign County Library.