New Year. No Fees & Fines!

Jan. 03, 2022 Rachel Dick Hughes

This month the library is very pleased to announce that charges for library cards and for overdue fines will be eliminated in 2022 thanks to funding from the Town of Strathmore.

Fees and overdue fines have long been a deterrent to library use, particularly to newcomers, low-income patrons, and families with children. We don’t often see adults borrow more than 10 books at a time for themselves, but families with children regularly take home upwards of 25 items at a time. When those are late, the fees add up quickly. Literacy depends on access to and positive experiences with books and stories, and punishing families for forgetfulness or for that book that winds up hiding under the bed runs completely counter to the library’s goal of ensuring families are equipped to support their children’s literacy development.

The Library Board has been working consistently toward the goal of making the library’s collection and programs accessible to all members of the community. Small steps have been taken to reduce financial barriers to access, including our popular Food for Fines program, Read Away Your Fines, and free memberships for new residents and low-income individuals.

Forced closures through the pandemic meant a pause for overdue fines and card fees, and the library’s budget was adjusted accordingly. By 2021, only 1% of the library’s budget relied on overdue fines, and another 3% on library card fees. Strathmore Town Council has agreed to provide $21,000 in additional funding for 2022 to cover the expected loss of revenue associated with eliminating the fees.

Effective January 3, 2022, new memberships and renewals will be free, and overdue fines will not be charged on late items. Current overdue fines on accounts will be waived. Items that remain overdue for 45 days will be billed to the borrower’s account, and the borrower will not be able to borrow anything else until the item is returned and the fee is waived from the account. If you have questions about the logistics and implications of going fine-free, please see our Fine-Free FAQ or feel free to ask the staff about it when you come in.

Library cards provide access to hundreds of thousands of resources including books, DVDs, games, special equipment like snowshoes, life jackets, and tools, as well as e-books, digital audiobooks, and access to online resources like LinkedIn Learning. Check out the Special Collections page on our website to discover more resources that might surprise you.

We hope you will join us in celebrating this good news by telling your friends and family members, particularly those who have not been taking advantage of all the library has to offer. Thank you for your continued support.

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