DeKalb libraries no longer charging fines for overdue booksDecatur Branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decatur, GA — The days of DeKalb County libraries charging fees for overdue books are over.
The DeKalb County Public Library on June 29 announced that all libraries are now fine-free, with the caveat that customers will still need to pay for lost or damaged items.
“At DCPL, we believe eliminating overdue fines will encourage more families to use the library,” Library Director Alison Weissinger said in a press release. “Families and children need the resources of the library now more than ever.”
The DeKalb County Public Library cited research by the American Library Association showing fines disproportionately affect low-income customers.
Here’s the full announcement about the new policy:
(Decatur, June 29, 2022)- Beginning Friday, July 1, 2022, DeKalb County Public Library (DCPL) joins a growing list of libraries across the nation no longer charging overdue fines. Research conducted by the American Library Association determined fines are a barrier to equitable access and disproportionately affect low-income users—particularly children and families. The report also revealed fines do not motivate returns, they actually contribute to non-use.
“At DCPL, we believe eliminating overdue fines will encourage more families to use the library,” says Library Director, Alison Weissinger. “Families and children need the resources of the library now more than ever.”
Going Fine-Free will not mean patrons won’t have to bring their materials back to the library. Items will have a due date and materials will need to be returned. Fees will still be incurred for lost or damaged items and Inter-Library Loan items.
Studies of libraries that have eliminated fines show there has been no impact on return rates. In fact, going Fine-Free can even increase use of library materials.
Staff at each DCPL location will work with patrons to understand the changes.
Additional information can be found online at dekalblibrary.org/fine-free
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