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Eliminating Library Fines: Improving Community Access, Equity and Usage
This webinar shares how going fine-free eliminates barriers and improves access to your library’s materials and services. Growing research and library case studies on the benefits of eliminating overdue fines indicate that the advantages to both library and community far exceed the monetary value of the fines. This webinar explores going (and staying) fine-free as a social justice issue and as a revenue issue. Presenters discuss considerations such as the barriers to access for those facing financial insecurity, the cost to collect fines often exceeds the revenue they bring in, and that many libraries report that patrons return more items after going fine-free.
Link includes a Learner Guide and Related Resources & Links.
Eliminating Fines: A win-win for your library and community
Libraries have traditionally charged overdue fines for three reasons: to generate revenue, to get materials back on time, and to teach responsibility. But what if all of these assumptions are wrong? It turns out they are!
In this webinar, you will discover why these reasons are old fashioned, incorrect notions that create a barrier for many people. You will hear how eliminating fines can lead to an increase in library use and circulation, with no negative effects. The presenters review the research and results from the growing number of libraries across the country that have ditched late fines and coaxed new and former users to their doors. They discuss how to gather your library’s data and patron stories to create advocacy tools. They share talking points, tips, and an advocacy tool you can use to build a case to eliminate fines in your library. It’s a win-win for your library and your community!
The Future Is Fine Free: How Libraries Are Increasing Equity, Engagement and Access for Their Communities
A big-picture conversation about becoming and being fine-free libraries that identifies libraries' "why" for being fine-free, how to strategically address communities' needs and local government priorities by eliminating fines, and the impacts of going fine-free on communities.
Going Fine Free: Making the Case and Overcoming Barriers Without Going in the Hole
Are you interested in going fine-free but need to overcome some barriers to moving forward? This EveryLibrary webinar addresses:
-Reasons for going fine free
-The experience of libraries that have gone fine-free
-Reality v. Myth on late returns, hold times, revenue loss, and library usage
-How to effectively message and advocate for going fine-free with internal and external stakeholders
-Planning your way forward: Exploring a variety of options for phased implementation
Information on the St. Paul Public Library's decision to go fine free, including FAQs, resources and case studies from other libraries, and background and history.
Going Fine Free (Resources)
Resources from Peter Bromberg's "Going Fine Free: Making the Case and Overcoming Barriers Without Going in the Hole" webinar, including materials from Salt Lake City Public Library's fine free initiative.
End Library Fines
Collection of articles and resources compiled by library consultant Andy Woodworth.
Fine Free Research (Anchorage Public Library)
Includes links to various resources that show the effect on circulation of going fine free as well as other topics such as the effects of removing barriers to access.
Organizational Cost of Fines
A tool and infographic template from the Ontario Library Association to help libraries calculate the organizational cost of charging fines.
Addicted to Fines
Small towns in much of the country are dangerously dependent on punitive fines and fees.
By Mike Maciag, Governing, August 2019
The Fine Line: Ethical and Intellectual-Freedom Implications of Charging Our Patrons
by Robert Sarwark, The Intellectual Freedom Blog, October 8, 2018. Critical look at fine line between patrons’ fair and open access to library materials and libraries’ mandate to equitably offer and protect the materials themselves.
Results from Published Reports and Data from Library Connection, Inc. (LCI) Libraries. Prepared by Sam Cook, Systems Librarian for Public Services, Library Connection, Inc. Windsor, CT Prepared on October 11, 2018, Updated March 22, 2019
Framing Advocacy on Fines and Fees Reform
FrameWorks Institute, 2018. Lays out a selected set of research-based recommendations for effectively framing messaging on the harmful effects of fines and fees in the justice system and related advocacy efforts to advance monetary sanctions reforms.
A librarians Case against overdue book fines (Dawn Wacek: TEDxUWLaCrosse)
Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there's one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don't actually do what we think they do. What if your library just ... stopped asking for them altogether? February 2018.
Library Late Fees - Not Just Ineffective, But Harmful
By Lori Ayre, Galecia Group, July 12, 2021. Increasing numbers of libraries have eliminated late fees because they are ineffective at promoting the timely return of materials, and argue that they undermine the mission of the library to provide equitable access to library services and resources.
LONG OVERDUE: Eliminating Fines on Overdue Materials to Improve Access to San Francisco Public Library (PDF)
January 2019. Examines the role of overdue fines within the SFPL, clarifies the ways in which fine elimination supports the Library’s mission, and offers evidence as to what fine elimination would mean for the Library, its patrons, and the City and County of San Francisco.
Social Library, Fines Edition (WebJunction)
A look at how libraries are approaching the growing discussion around whether or not to eliminate fines on library materials.
By Jennifer Peterson, September 17, 2019
Why Are Libraries Eliminating Late Fees?
Many libraries are moving to become fine-free not only because they end up being better for the community it serves but also for the library itself.