Final question: what would you recommend for librarians who are advocating to make their libraries fine-free? How should they go about pursuing this?
Beth would recommend trying to eliminate fines first on only certain sections, e.g. children’s books. Track the circulation of materials, number of borrowers and number of library visitors unable to check out an item because something was not returned on time for 6-12 months. Once you have the data to prove that fines are either ineffective or just a barrier, convincing your colleagues and board-members is easier.
Meg suggests that another great practice is creating infographics and visuals before presenting the idea to your governing body. Also, take your library’s budget, user demographics, your areas’ economic situation and the costs of collecting fines into consideration.
The American Library Association published a resolution in January, stating that monetary fines are a form of social inequity.
For more tips and tricks on how to make your library fine-free and to find out more about the new resolution by the ALA, listen to episode 2 of the Princh Library Lounge!