‘Clean Slate’ Program Begins in December
The Library will help its customers enter 2021 with a “clean slate,” as a campaign to eliminate overdues will be initiated to kick off the new year. The process will begin in December, giving patrons a chance to clear their accounts.
Planning is underway following the Oct. 1 meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees, when Aimee Fifarek, Library Executive Director, explained the project to the Board and answered questions about the plan.
Under this process, fees for overdue materials will be waived, however costs for materials which are not returned will still be charged.
Ms. Fifarek explained that with the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and employment, now seemed the right time to implement this policy. “Removing barriers to library use has always been one of our priorities,” she said.
“We derive very little of our income from overdues – less than 1% in overdue fines and cost of lost materials,” said Ms. Fifarek. Additionally, processing overdue fines has a cost impact in staff time and mailing costs. “But the most important impact to us is that people may not use the library for fear of accruing costs they cannot afford,” she noted.
“Most of our patrons are very conscientious about returning their materials – it was one of most frequent questions we received while our book drops were closed early in the pandemic,” she said. “It’s important to us to get materials into people’s hands – and equally important to get those materials back so that they can be enjoyed by other patrons.”
When materials are not returned, the Library must replace them, and that is a cost to the taxpayer. Because of this, the Library will still be charging for lost materials.
During December 2020, patrons should speak with a Library staff member about waiving all existing fines, bringing back long-overdue items and being issued a replacement card, if needed.
“We are happy to be able to bring about this change for the benefit of our community. We know that people love their library and want to be able to continue to use the materials on our shelves, and now overdue fees will no longer be a deterrent,” Ms. Fifarek notes.
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