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KDL closes book on late fees

May 7, 2019
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Kent District Library KDL Wyoming branch
The nearly 49,000-square-foot Wyoming library is the largest branch in the Kent District Library network. Courtesy KDL

Customers of the Kent District Library no longer have to worry about fines on overdue books.

Starting on June 1, late fees will not be charged to patrons who have overdue items. Library officials said eliminating fines will increase circulation of library materials and encourage those with overdue fines to use the library again.

“Each year, hundreds of patrons stop using library services entirely because they are deterred by late fines,” said Michelle Boisvenue-Fox, KDL’s director of programming, outreach and collection services. “There’s a ‘shame’ element to late fines that does more harm than good. Eliminating the shame and late fines will make library resources more accessible and create a more encouraging experience for more people.”

KDL implemented an automatic renewal system a few years ago that allowed for an extension for overdue materials to be returned. The result was that revenue for late fees was reduced to the point where it was almost completely offset by the cost of administrating and collecting the fines.

“The time that staff typically devotes to managing late fines will now be spent on library services, which is a better service and value for taxpayers,” said Boisvenue-Fox.

Although all overdue fines will be forgiven, patrons will continue to receive notification of due dates and past-due items.

Materials that are more than 35 days past due will be considered lost and charged to patrons. The library also will continue to charge patrons for damaged items.

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