Letter to the editor: Summit County Library goes fine-free to increase access
Summit County Library director and Summit County Library board president
Summit County Library is eliminating barriers to library use by removing library fines, joining libraries across the country in a movement aimed at making libraries more inclusive and welcoming. Libraries are learning that removing fines increases access for those who most benefit from using library resources and services. The library sees this as the continuation of its mission to create a welcoming environment and opportunities to search, connect and enjoy lifelong learning and its vision of an empowered community.
As of April 1, there are no more overdue fees on late items. There will still be a two-week checkout policy and items must be returned or renewed by the due date. If an item has not been returned or renewed 30 days after the due date, the customer is sent a bill for the replacement. The patron’s library account will be blocked from library services until that item is returned or paid for. If the item is returned, the replacement fee is removed from the account and the card is unblocked. We hope customers will return items on time so that everyone in the community has the opportunity to enjoy them.
Library staff works to create a positive atmosphere for our customers. By eliminating conversations about fines, staff is free to meet customer needs. Relationships are improved and customer service is emphasized.
Libraries that have gone fine-free report increases in circulation, card sign-up and patron visits. When people no longer feel the shame of library fines, they feel free to utilize the library.
We are proud to move forward with this new movement by going fine-free. The quest for literacy should be free. So we welcome you to enjoy library services without fear of incurring fines. The library will continue to look into improving access to library resources and programming.
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