Should Libraries Get Rid of Late Fees?
April 7, 2022

Should Libraries Get Rid of Late Fees?

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Have you ever ever held onto a library e-book previous its due date? If that’s the case, did you pay a superb? Have fines made you extra hesitant to make use of the library?

Do you assume late charges are a vital strategy to nudge patrons to return objects on time? Are they strategy for elevating cash? Or, do you assume libraries ought to do away with fines as a strategy to create a extra equitable system whereas encouraging extra individuals to make use of the library?

In “The Library Ends Late Fees, and the Treasures Roll In,” Gina Cherelus writes about what occurred when New York’s public library programs eradicated late fines:

Some objects, checked out many years in the past, arrived with apologetic notes. “Enclosed are books I’ve borrowed and stored in my home for 28-50 years! I’m 75 years previous now and these books have helped me by means of motherhood and my educating profession,” one patron wrote in an unsigned letter that accompanied a field of books dropped off on the New York Public Library’s primary department final fall. “I’m sorry for residing with these books so lengthy. They turned household.”

Three DVD copies of “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” a 2009 motion movie about Irish Catholic vigilantes in Boston that has a 23 % score on Rotten Tomatoes, had been returned to 3 libraries in three completely different boroughs.

When New York’s public library programs introduced final October that they might be eliminating all late fines, the objective was to get books and folks again to the greater than 200 branches, in addition to analysis facilities, throughout town after a 12 months and a half of restricted hours and entry.

The objective was achieved: A wave of returned overdue supplies got here crashing in, accompanied by a wholesome improve (between 9 and 15 %, relying on the borough) of returning guests.

College students, learn the entire article, then inform us:

  • Have you ever ever held onto a library e-book previous its due date? Have you ever ever needed to pay late charges? Do library fines — and overdue books — stress you out?

  • Do you assume it’s a good suggestion for libraries to do away with overdue fines? Why or why not?

  • Do you assume fines encourage patrons to return library books on time? Or, are there higher methods — ones that don’t disproportionately influence high-need communities — to get individuals to deliver overdue objects again?

  • Would you be extra probably to take a look at books if you happen to knew you wouldn’t should pay a late payment? Would you be extra prone to maintain a library e-book previous the due date?


Need extra writing prompts? You’ll find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column. Lecturers, check out this guide to study how one can incorporate them into your classroom.

College students 13 and older in america and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to remark. All feedback are moderated by the Studying Community workers, however please take into account that as soon as your remark is accepted, it will likely be made public.

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