EVERYONE READS FREE
Beginning Monday, March 1, 2021 Red Jacket Community Library will no longer charge overdue fines for print materials and media checked out at the Red Jacket Community Library. Charging overdue fines for print materials and media contradicts a pledge of “free and equal access” and discourages library use.
What does “read free” mean?
Fines are charged for overdue library materials. “Read free” refers to eliminating the fees charged for returning print materials and audio books after their due date. As of March 1, 2021, print materials and media checked out at the Red Jacket Community Library will no longer incur overdue fines.
- Print materials will still be assigned a 3-week loan period, and patrons should continue to renew items to extend loan periods. Items without holds can be renewed twice.
- Lost and damaged fees still apply. Items that are overdue more than eight (8) weeks are automatically marked lost.
- With approval from the Library Director, patrons may choose to replace lost or damaged materials themselves with new, identical items.
- This policy does not apply to Fishing Rods
- The library will continue to charge small fees for printing, photocopying, and faxing services.
Why is the library eliminating overdue fines for print materials and audio books?
- Charging overdue fines for print materials and audio books does not support the library’s mission of equity and access.
- Overdue fines disproportionately affect low-income families, adding another barrier library use.
- Research shows no difference in overdue rates between libraries charging overdue fines and libraries not charging overdue fines.
What if there are still overdue fines for print materials and audio books on my library account?
- Previously accrued overdue fines will remain on patron accounts, however, no new overdue fines for print materials and audio books will be charged as of March 1, 2021.
- We cannot waive overdue fines for items owed to other libraries or waive fees for lost or damaged materials.
- Patrons with economic hardship or special circumstances that make it difficult to pay already accrued fines or for lost/damaged materials are encouraged to speak to the Library Director.
Doesn’t the library need overdue fine money to run the library?
- Overdue fines make up a very small part of the library’s budget and have been trending downward in recent years.
- The library actually incurs expenses to collect overdue fines, including staff time collecting fines, staff time handling fine disputes, and billing postage.
- The majority of the library’s funding comes from donations, fundraising, municipal support, and the school district tax levy.
- The purpose of our library is to supply the Red Jacket community with resources that can be borrowed for education and enrichment. We believe removing overdue fines for print materials and audio books will promote literacy and increases access to the Red Jacket Community Library.
For more information on your library account, please visit the library staff at the Service Desk. Final decisions regarding patron accounts are made at the discretion of the Library Director.