[Libs-Or] Late fees (was: Library cards for homeless/those without permanent address)

Louise Meyers louise at ccrls.org
Tue Jul 10 15:25:52 PDT 2012

One point here that has been made is about the library being for people who
can't afford to buy books or rent movies. I disagree with that, libraries
are for anyone who is smart enough to know that they should not have to buy
every book or movie they want, and it makes thrifty sense to use the
library. Also, we offer so much more--classes, programming, meeting space,
and so on!

On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 3:07 PM, Abbie Anderson <aanderson at cclsd.org> wrote:

> I had the privilege of working at FVRL as my first job out of library
> school. It was great to not have to deal with late fees. The question was
> periodically revisited, and each time an analysis was done it was found
> that the costs of implementing fines (develop cash handling procedures,
> invest in cashiering equipment, train staff, prepare for increased time
> with upset patrons) were found to be greater than the potential income.
> Of course, the decision to *stop* charging late fees involves different
> questions. Can we afford the lost revenue? Will people become more careless
> with materials if we don't have fines? (as Dierdre said, the research says
> no--I don't have a citation either!) Will the customer service time and
> customer relations gains balance out the lost income?
> Some of this depends on your patron base. Some communities have an
> ingrained attitude that not only do you get what you pay for, but that if
> it's free, it's not worth anything (or not as good). At FVRL, we were
> taught to avoid telling people (or putting on our publicity) that something
> was "free"--because it's not free, it takes money and effort and knowledge
> and expertise to deliver the materials, services, and programs that the
> library offers. It's just free of charge at point of service. :)
> The flip side of FVRL's generous library card policy was that if you do
> *not* live in a place with a tax-supported library--including just outside
> the city limits in the "border" branch where I worked--you had to pay for a
> library card. This caused regular difficulties in my branch, since many of
> our regulars lived outside that jurisdictional border, and often couldn't
> afford the quarterly payment of their library card fee. We could give a
> card to someone who owns property in Connecticut, but not to someone
> renting a trailer in unincorporated Cowlitz County (five minutes' drive
> away). All the Lane County libraries know what I'm talking about! At FVRL
> we could offer people an Internet-only library card for free, but if they
> wanted to check out materials and lived outside our borders, they had to
> pay. There was no in-between (no limited-use card), IIRC. That policy may
> have changed since I left in 2009.
> And now my lunch break is over and I can stop releasing overheated
> atmospheric contributions!
> Abbie
> On 07/10/2012 11:13 am, Buzzy Nielsen wrote:
>> Check out our neighbors to the north at the Fort Vancouver Regional
>> Library District for a different model: They don't charge fines, and
>> they give a free card to anyone who lives within the jurisdiction of a
>> tax-supported public library anywhere in the country.
>>   http://fvrl.org/aboutus/**policies/library_privileges.**htm<http://fvrl.org/aboutus/policies/library_privileges.htm>[4]
>>  Cheers!
>>  Buzzy Nielsen
>>  **************************************
>>  Library Director
>>  Hood River County Library District
>>  502 State St
>>  Hood River, OR 97031
>>  541-387-7062
>>  http://hoodriverlibrary.org [5]
>>   On 07/10/2012 10:15 AM, Diedre Conkling wrote:
>> Actually what happens without fines is that items get returned at
>>> the same rate as in libraries with fines. The down side might be
>>> that the returns come in a bit later, it is not that the items
>>> aren't returned. The major up side is the reduction of stress on
>>> staff. Yes, there has been research done on this. I am, however,
>>> unable to point anyone to the research today but probably could
>>> later in the week. Oh, the research is on return rates and not
>> staff
>>> stress levels. That is just a comment from my personal experience.
>>> On Jul 10, 2012 9:30 AM, "Kyle Banerjee" wrote:
>>> ______________________________**_______________________
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>> Links:
>> ------
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>> [2] mailto:Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.**state.or.us<Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
>> [3] http://listsmart.osl.state.or.**us/mailman/listinfo/libs-or<http://listsmart.osl.state.or.us/mailman/listinfo/libs-or>
>> [4] http://fvrl.org/aboutus/**policies/library_privileges.**htm<http://fvrl.org/aboutus/policies/library_privileges.htm>
>> [5] http://hoodriverlibrary.org
> --
> ***************
> Abbie Anderson
> Assistant Director
> North Bend Public Library
> 541.756.1073
> ______________________________**_______________________
> Libs-Or mailing list
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> Hosted by the Oregon State Library. The Library is not responsible for
> content.
> Questions related to message content should be directed to list owner(s)
> or the sender of the message, by phone or email.
> Technical questions? Call 503-378-8800.

Louise Meyers
Library director
Stayton Public Library
515 N. 1st ave, Stayton OR
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