Mansfield Public Library eliminates Most Fines On Late Books
In a move that is sure to delight many bookworms, Mansfield Public Library no longer charges fines on much of what you can borrow including all children’s items and certain books.
Fines will still be charged for high use and high cost items, per the press release from the Windham Chamber, and these include items like tools, cake pans (yes, many libraries have begun loaning out cake pans), electronic devices, and museum passes.
Additionally, if a book was transferred through the interlibrary system and that library does collect fines, then the Mansfield Public Library will follow the fining policy of the library that the book originated from.
This is part of a larger movement for libraries across the country who are challenging the wisdom of collecting fines for late books in the first place. At a meeting of librarians in February of 2018, Gretchen Caserotti, a panel member from Meridian, Idaho noted that there is little evidence to support the idea that fines are a substantial revenue stream or that it’s an effective tool for teaching younger patrons responsibility.
0.3 percent of revenues back to top
According to a post by the Salt Lake City Public Library on Medium.Com, late fees accounted for just 0.3 percent of the library’s total revenue, making them nominal only.
In fact, fines are largely seen as an economic and mental barrier from taking advantage of libraries in the first place. Fines prevent people from taking out books for fear of fines, especially for those in low income families. Even a single fine might prevent a regular visitor from returning.
Public libraries are an integral part of society, especially for those without the resources or space to fill up bookshelves at home. Mansfield Public Library decision to eliminate fines on most items is part of trend that seeks greater access to one of our most precious resources: knowledge.
And if there are people who do bring a book back late and feel guilty about it, the press release says that there will be a donation jar at the checkout counter where you can help support your local library.