Columbus libraries to eliminate overdue book fines

(Columbus Metropolitan Library)
(Columbus Metropolitan Library)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Columbus Metropolitan Library system has announced that they will eliminate fines for all borrowed materials beginning in 2017.

The elimination of fines takes effect on January 1.

“Removing barriers to get more materials into the hands of more customers brings us closer to achieving our vision of a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” said CEO Patrick Losinski.

Rather than imposing fines, the library will instead block library cards of patrons with materials 21 days or more overdue.

If an overdue item is not returned 35 days after its due date, it is deemed lost and the customer is charged a replacement fee. That fee would be removed if and when the customer returns the item.

Customers with cards blocked for long overdue materials are still able to access eBooks, reserve meeting rooms, use public PCs and other library services.

The library system does not rely on the revenue generated from overdue fines.

Customers with existing overdue fines will still be required to pay them, as these fines cannot be removed from all customer accounts in bulk. However, the library says staff are empowered and encouraged to use good judgement to waive existing fines on customer accounts.

Other Ohio library systems that have eliminated fines include the Delaware County District Library (except AV materials, since 1986), and Worthington Libraries (since October 2016). Additionally, Stark County District Library went fine-free in 2014.

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