2.10.2017

Buh-bye Barriers - Stop the Fines


I was struck by the recent Slate article on eliminating fines by Ruth Graham. In it, she not only gives a link-heavy overview of the history of library fines but also some solid data and anecdotal evidence of what happens when fines are eliminated. In general, as expected, revenues from fines go down. At the same time, costs for charge card machines can be eliminated. And access to the library as seen through circ and usage, go up.

Five years ago an ALA white paper on homelessness advocated eliminating fines and fees in order to provide access to libraries for poor.  I bet all of us have heard from teachers, parents, leaders in youth serving organizations - and our consciences - how fines are a true barrier to library use.

Isn't it time we truly open our doors to all our community - including those for whom fines and fees are a daunting barrier to use of our services, collections and programs? Let's truly show what libraries are.

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