At the Alamance County Commissioners meeting on Monday, June 21st it was decided, during the regular annual budgeting process, that on July 1, 2021 the Alamance County Public Libraries (ACPL) will no longer charge overdue fines on all library materials. According to the Library Director, Susana Goldman, “I am so excited to be able to remove a barrier to library usage in our community. Especially because charging overdue fines does not align with our vision of creating communities and providing opportunities.”
As there is no evidence that charging overdue fines increase prompt returns and this accounts for less than 1% of ACPL’s revenue each fiscal year, this change will remove punitive actions for late materials resulting in less staff time managing patron fines and a boost in community morale.
“Sad to say, but I’ve had the opportunity to witness lots of unhappy kids leave the library because of fines owing on either their card or the parent’s card,” said Kathy Garrison, long time public services manager at ACPL. “During the summertime, Grandparents often bring their grandchildren into the library to check out books. They spend quality time in the children’s department searching for the right books only to find out they can’t check out because of fines owed. Not only was this embarrassing to the Grandparents, it would leave the child in tears. Sometimes the grandparents weren’t in a position to cover the fines or couldn’t get a card themselves because they were visiting from out of town. On several occasions I was able to turn those tears into a smile when I checked the books out on my own library card. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing a happy child leave the library with the books they picked out. Saying goodbye to overdue fines will mean this happens more often.”
Patrons with overdue materials will continue to receive overdue notices as a reminder to return library materials. An item is automatically declared lost if it has been overdue 49 days. In the event a library item is lost, replacement fees will be charged. Library cards are available free of charge for anyone who lives or works in Alamance County. ACPL borrowing privileges are also available to residents in the surrounding counties of Guilford, Rockingham, Caswell, Orange, Chatham, and Randolph. All patrons are encouraged to speak with a staff member with any questions about their accounts. Happy reading to all.