Westerville library ends fees

August 26, 2017 by  

Joining a growing trend, the Westerville Public Library will stop collecting fees for overdue materials. The new policy went into effect August 17, 2017, which was also the first day Westerville students went back to school. Westerville’s decision comes approximately a month after the library in Bexley, about 13 miles away, also dropped its late fees.

There are several reasons for this move. First, revenue raised by imposing fines amounted to less than 1% of the library’s 2016 annual budget. Second, employees spend valuable time managing late fees that they could spend more productively elsewhere. Finally, imposing fines can create a negative experience for the library’s users, and decrease their access to materials, as well as decreasing overall library use.

In addition to all this, studies have found that items that are overdue tend to be returned within approximately a week of the date they’re due, whether or not fines are levied. Mary Lightbody, the president of the Board of Trustees of the library, said she and others trust borrowers to bring the materials back on time, so that others can check them out.

The board approved the change in June, but will still collect late fees that have accrued through the effective date of the new policy.

To make sure that all the library’s patrons know about the change, the facility’s managers could create brochures explaining the policy, and make them available in the library.

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