[Libs-Or] Fine Free Libraries

Julie Retherford julie at chetcolibrary.org
Fri Jan 25 12:01:44 PST 2019

Hi, Rita!  My current library here (and the entire Coastline Consortium) just recently went fine free for juveniles, but not for everyone. I would love to go 100% fine free, though.  My library in Ohio went fine free a couple years and it was great.  


Basic arguments for it: 

*        Research shows fines don’t have a real impact on return rates

*        Fines only have an impact on low income people—it’s not a big deal for someone with money to pay a $10 fine, but for someone who doesn’t have a job or struggles to pay their bills, you may as well ask for $500

*        For a lot of libraries, fine collection is a very small part of their budget

*        What has a bigger impact on return rates is blocking checkouts. If someone has 3 overdue items and they aren’t allowed to check anything else out until they return the overdue items, they will return them. 

*        It creates a TON of goodwill from the community. When we went fine free it was in the newspapers and on the radio, and we milked it. And we had a HUGE number of people come in after not having come in for 20+ years, all because they had very minor late fines.  

*        If something is more than 4 or 6 or 8 weeks overdue (however long you want), you just charge them for the book. Late fines do not preclude you from having lost item charges


There are a lot of articles out there about going Fine Free.  I encourage you to take some time and learn about it! And if you’re going to be at WLA-OLA, I’m in the group presenting with Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney and would be happy to chat with you more. 




Julie Retherford, Director

Chetco Community Public Library







From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Rita J Radford
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2019 11:34 AM
To: Diedre Conkling <diedre08 at gmail.com>; libs-or at listsmart. osl. state. or. us <libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] Fine Free Libraries


Will someone please explain to me the advantage of "fine-free"?  In my thinking it removes responsibility from the patron and cheapens the value of our collections. This is only the second time I've heard of this concept so perhaps I don't have the whole picture. 

In the dark,
Rita Radford
Riddle City Library

On January 25, 2019, at 10:20 AM, Diedre Conkling < <mailto:diedre08 at gmail.com> diedre08 at gmail.com> wrote:

I just noticed that not all of the Oregon libraries without fines are on this map, 




Diedre Conkling
 <mailto:diedre08 at gmail.com> diedre08 at gmail.com


“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”―Maya Angelou

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