Our mission is to provide and promote open and equal access to the resources and services of the library.
Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library does not charge overdue fines on materials owned by this library, as approved by the Board of Trustees on September 20, 2021.
Fines provide an inequitable barrier to service, primarily impacting children in our community. Studies have shown that fines for overdue items have very little effect on whether or not items are returned on time. There is increasing evidence that the elimination of fines can positively impact library usage and library card adoption. It’s good for our community. The Library’s mission is to promote open and equal access to the resources and services. Eliminating overdue fines will further that mission by removing barriers to access and will help us better meet our community’s informational, educational, and cultural needs.
It’s good for our relationships. We want the best experience possible for our community members. Being fine-free will make library visits more enjoyable for both patrons and staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does fine free really mean? When you borrow materials belonging to Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library, you will no longer accrue fines for overdue materials. Have other libraries eliminated overdue fines? Yes! The American Library Association passed a resolution in 2019, which has caused many libraries to reconsider their implementation of library fines. There are hundreds of libraries across the country who have eliminated fines on overdue items, including several BCCLS libraries, such as Fair Lawn, Ramsey, and Oakland.
Don't overdue fines encourage people to return library materials on time? Well, no, not really. Studies have shown that small fines have almost no impact on return rates. Once someone has a late fine on their card, they are less likely to visit the library again. Other libraries that have removed overdue fines have experienced an increase in return rates. The public library model is based upon a trusting relationship between borrowers and a valued community resource. Library staff trusts that borrowers will bring their materials back on time, so that others may use them.
Are there still due dates when I borrow library materials? Yes. The library continues to set time limits for borrowed materials and we expect them to be returned on time. Ask a staff member how you can opt in to receive courtesy email reminders, if you have not already.
How does this work with other BCCLS library items? Fines are set by the lending library. Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library is not charging late fines on items we own or share with other BCCLS cardholders. However, overdue fines will still accrue for library materials owned by libraries that are not fine-free.
What happens if someone does not return their items? Items not returned within a timely manner will trigger an automatic block on the borrower's library card. If an item is not returned within 90 days, it is assumed lost, and a replacement fee will be charged for the item.
Are there other ways I might still be charged for library materials? In addition to lost or long overdue times, fees may be assessed for damaged library materials. Make sure you take good care of the items you borrow and be honest with staff if an accident does happen. We are here to help!
How does this affect the library's budget? Fine revenue accounts for less than 0.5% of the library’s annual budget. It is an unreliable source of income, especially with an increase in e-material circulation and automatic renewals on eligible items. We believe that being fine free will have an overall greater benefit for the community.
What if I have outstanding balance on my WPML library account? If you are a Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library cardholder, speak to a staff member about charges on your card. We will waive overdue fines for materials from our library. If any of the charges are from lost or damaged items, a staff member will work with you to find an equitable solution.