[Libs-Or] elimination of late fees
Stephanie.Chase at hillsboro-oregon.gov
Wed Jun 8 12:14:46 PDT 2016
I removed late fees at the last library I was at in our east, because the staff (and the majority of the Board) felt they were punitive and often kept the very people we most would like to come to the library from using our resources. The Board's only concern was purely fiscal -- they needed to replace the lost revenue -- and we were able to do so by restructuring and clarifying our out-of-town fees and offering a "conscience jar" at the desk for people who really wanted to pay something to assuage their guilt. I believe in the first year, the conscience jar made almost as much as we had made the previous year in fines!
We kept our communications the same with patrons, sending first and second notices and then a final notice, billing patrons for the cost of the book. For the six months before the switch, we kept track of how many of each notice we sent, and how many items we ultimately received back. We found that we sent more first notices without fines, but ended up receiving back twice as many actual items.
Pushback, for us, was totally from patrons. Some saw fines as a way to not feel guilty; many of the comments were along the variety of "why would anyone bring anything back then?", or how getting rid of fines doesn't teach responsibility. You can see this already in the comments on the blog post about Multnomah removing children's fines (https://multcolib.org/blog/20160607/opening-new-doors-library-no-more-youth-fines). We simply said that we expected patrons to continue to uphold the social contract they agreed to when they signed up for their library cards, returning items in a timely fashion in order to make the greatest number of resources available to the greatest number of patrons, and that responsibility should not need a financial penalty in order to be taught.
I think this is an issue we all have interest in, and I bet many folks on the list would love to hear what you have discovered! Good luck.
Stephanie Chase | Director, Hillsboro Public Library
City of Hillsboro, Oregon | Hillsboro Public Library
From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of libs-or-request at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
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1. elimination of late fees (Linden How)
2. Job Announcement: Temporary On-Call Adult Services Librarian
3. Answerland Advisory Committee meeting at Oregon State
Library, June 16, 2016 (Jessica Rondema)
4. Job Announcement: Youth Services Librarian (Full Time)
5. New Book at the State Library: The Heart of Librarianship
6. Free Art Books for public schools and libraries! Place your
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Library Program (D.U.C.) (MaryKay Dahlgreen)
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2016 12:51:47 -0700
From: Linden How <lhow at pnca.edu>
To: Libs-Or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: [Libs-Or] elimination of late fees
<CABa1aF=7jeWeWZ+ZQmVoYh8Ews296UHPGxPM+ENQL9P3D06NKA at mail.gmail.com>
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We are considering doing away with general late fees at our library, and I wonder if any of you have some experience or knowledge to share about transitioning to a no-overdue-fine policy. Right now, the plan is to keep charging for lost (more than 30 days overdue) items and overdue ILLs and reserves, but to get rid of other late fees. We hope this change will reduce barriers for our students and promote greater usage and satisfaction.
I'd love to hear any general experiential information or see models/resources you'd like to share. We also have a few specific questions (please don't feel like you have to answer all of them!):
1. If you've transitioned to a no-overdue-fine policy, what was your rationale? How did you navigate this with your governing body?
2. Did you experience any push-back from boards, governing bodies, or even patrons?
3. What was your process in making this transition?
4. Do you handle communication with patrons about overdue items any differently?
5. If you have a no-overdue-fine policy, can you share its specifics?
6. Have you noticed any differences, for example, in circulation numbers or patron satisfaction?
7. What has and hasn't worked?
Thank you so much! We really appreciate your input.
Albert Solheim Library
Pacific Northwest College of Art
511 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209
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