Failing to return a library book almost always results in a late fee. Fortunately, many libraries are making the switch to fee-free resource rental, as a growing number of institutions argue that eliminating fees has more pros than cons.
1. Better Reputation
The fact that everyone associates late fees with libraries doesn’t exactly make them the most popular of public venues. Instead, it gives the public the impression that libraries are exclusive clubs with no interest in serving anyone who cannot commit to making it back to the library by a certain date, much less at the risk of facing a financial penalty for tardiness.
2. Negligible Impact
Studies suggest that library fees do not affect the financial bottom line of the average library, nor are they a sustainable way to earn revenue. In addition, the threat of fees doesn’t seem to increase the likelihood of a book being returned. Instead, fees just limit who can and cannot access library resources, thereby decreasing actual growth opportunities.
3. More Utilization
Fewer barriers to a resource mean greater utilization of that resource. When patrons do not have to fear any financial repercussions of checking out library sources, they are more likely to take those items home and encourage others to do the same.
Libraries have begun to embrace the removal of fines for late or lost items. Since fees disproportionately harm those whose access to resources is already limited, ending library book fines is a major step toward better community equity.