Beginning January 1, 2021, the Pulaski County Library District is going fine free for all items except WiFi Hotspots. This page will answer some common questions about why libraries go fine free and why we chose to do so, what you will and won’t be charged for, and some ways to take care of existing fines on your library account. Fines will stop effective Jan. 1, 2021, but all existing fines will stay on accounts. If you have any questions at all, feel free to call your local Pulaski County Library branch or email our Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why go Fine Free?
- We believe that the library is for everyone in our community. Going fine free helps us act on that belief.
- For continuity across library services. Electronic resources are growing in use and popularity and don’t incur overdue fines. Changing our physical items model helps us be more aligned across services.
- Overdue fines are not an effective incentive to return books on time.
- The model of charging overdue fines is growing obsolete and it was time for us to make this change.
How will the library make money?
- The vast majority of the library’s funding comes from local property and real estate taxes. Overdue fines over the past several years have made up approximately 0.5% of our overall annual budget so the impact should be minimal.
- Patrons may still choose to make a donation to their library branch when items are returned late. We have used overdue fines to help fund our children’s programs and any donations for late items will also be used for this purpose.
How will the library get their books back if overdue fines aren’t charged?
- All due dates still apply. Patrons will continue to receive regular notifications as items are due. Patrons with overdue items will not be able to check out additional items until the overdues are renewed or returned.
- When items are long overdue, they will be marked as “lost” and patrons will be charged for those items. The “lost” charge will be removed if/when the items are returned to the library.
- Patrons will be charged for items that are damaged.
How should I pay my existing overdue fines?
- You can pay existing fines at any PCLD branch. However, we also have a couple of other options.
- Beginning January 1, 2021 and continuing indefinitely, we will have “Food for Fines”. Each canned good / non-perishable food item that you bring to the library will cancel out $1 in overdue fines. This year, we’re adding a new twist. If you bring more food than you have fines, we will cancel out other patrons’ fines! $1 in fines will be cancelled out for each food item, and we’ll apply it to your account first and then move along to other patrons’ accounts. This is a fun way to “pay it forward” to other library patrons. PCLD will donate all food to local food pantries.
- “Read Away Fines” – Normally, we offer the chance to Read Away Fines at the library. Since we’re only open for curbside service right now, we have another option for reading away those fines. During the month of January, participate in our Winter Reading Challenge. Contact your local branch and ask for your minutes logged in the challenge to be counted toward your fines. Every 20 minutes will cancel out $1 in overdue fines. Remember, Read Away Fines only applies to overdue fines, not to lost items or other charges.