Graves-Hume Public Library to end late fee collection on overdue items

MENDOTA – To eliminate a common barrier to library services, beginning July 1, Graves-Hume Library District will no longer collect late fees on overdue materials. All past overdue fines will be cleared by July 5 (fines incurred on other libraries’ items and replacement bills will not be cleared). 

Just as before, library users will be expected to return materials by their due date.  Reminder notices for overdue items will continue to be sent. To ensure borrowed items are brought back, cardholder privileges will be temporarily blocked when items are not returned 21 days past their due date. Once the later materials are returned, the library account will be cleared and can be used again. Borrowed items that are lost, damaged or 42+ days overdue will be automatically billed. These new policies apply to all who use the library, including cardholders from other libraries. When using a Graves-Hume Library card at another library, different rules may apply. 

All of the Graves-Hume Public Library District’s borrowing limits remain the same, with most having a two-week checkout and a two-time renewal limit. Items may be renewed online, over the phone, or in person at the library, unless someone has placed a hold to request material. Overdue fines still apply to WiFi Hotspots due to their popularity. 

Taxpayers will not pay more to the library as a result of this change, instead, the library will save staff time and supplies as a result of eliminating overdue fines. Graves-Hume Public Library District joins more than 32 other area libraries in going fine free.

The Board of Trustees approved this policy in order to make the library experience more positive and to encourage more Mendota and surrounding area residents to use their library for books, movies, programs, and information. The Graves-Hume Public Library District looks forward to welcoming back those who have not returned back due to their overdue fines. 

It has long been assumed that imposing late fees encourages people to bring back materials before they’re due. In fact, research suggests that fines have no such effect on borrowers’ behavior and can actually discourage people from returning materials at all because they don’t want to pay the late charges they have incurred.

Director Emily Kofoid said, “By going fine free, the Graves-Hume Public Library hopes it will make an immediate and impactful difference for the community.”


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