WOOSTER Fines will be a thing of the past on almost all materials checked out at the Wayne County Public Library beginning Jan. 1.
“There has been a nationwide movement in public libraries to reassess the use of fines as a means for the recovery of library materials,” Library Director Jennifer Shatzer said in a news release. “Other libraries have removed fines and discovered that library materials that had been considered ‘lost’ started to be returned to the library. The number of people visiting the library and checking out materials also increased.”
Library patrons will still be responsible for the cost of replacing items that are lost or damaged and a few items, like Express movies and games, will still have a minimal check out fee. Additionally, WiFi Hotspots and equipment such as “in library use only” laptops and gaming systems will still accrue fines.
Revenue from overdue fines has dropped dramatically over the last decade or so. Currently, overdue fines are estimated to be less than one percent of the Library’s total operating revenue.
“It is possible that we may actually see an increase in the revenue we receive from the checkout fees we collect from the Express movies and games, once patrons are able to use their library cards again,” stated Shatzer.
As part of this change, starting in January, all overdue fines currently on Wayne County Public Library patron accounts will be forgiven. Fees for lost and damaged materials will still remain on accounts.
“Just because the library will not be charging overdue fines doesn’t mean there is no patron responsibility. Basically, we just want people to use the library and bring things back,” stated Shatzer. “We hope people who haven’t been using the library in a while will come back and see what we have to offer, both in the library and online.”
The Wayne County Public Library has locations in Creston, Dalton, Doylestown, Rittman, Shreve, West Salem and Wooster. The Library’s bookmobiles stop at more than 70 locations in the county.