Fine Free Announcement

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 emily@pulaskilibraries.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.

Library Services Update

 
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep library staff and patrons safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pulaski County Library District has enacted the following guidelines.
 
1. Library Service Changes – Every Monday, the Pulaski County Health Center announces the number of new positive cases in the County for the week. Beginning the week of August 24, 2020, if that number of new cases is greater than 50 (as it has been for the past 2 weeks), the Pulaski County Library District will revert to Curbside only service, with 30-minute computer use sessions available by appointment, until the weekly number of new positive cases drops below 50. Any service changes will begin the Tuesday after the Health Center’s Monday announcements. If the Health Center’s announcement is made on a day other than Monday, any changes to library services will begin on the following day.
 
2. Requirements for After-School Library Visits – We are hopeful for a safe and healthy year for all of our students, teachers, and school staff! In normal times, the libraries offer programs for children who come spend time at the library after school. We are not able to do so at the beginning of this school year. For now, children will be asked to follow our 30-minute time limit that all patrons are being asked to follow right now, as well as any occupancy limits currently in effect at the libraries (Crocker Library – 5 patrons; Richland Library – 5 patrons; Waynesville Library – 10 patrons). Gaming on the public computers is currently not allowed.
 
The library will continue to reevaluate the situation and phase in more services as cases decline in our area. Our goal is to balance providing the most services possible in the safest ways possible, and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility as the situation progresses.
 
Please contact our Library Director, Emily Slama, at 573-774-5026 or emily@pulaskilibraries.org with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Returned Items Announcement

Following recent research (found here: https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/realm-happening-now.html), the Pulaski County Library District will increase the time that we quarantine returned items to a minimum of 4 days.

Items will still show “checked out” on your library account, and your account will still show fines accruing (if applicable). After the quarantine period, items will be checked in and backdated to the date you actually returned them, which will cancel out any fines that may have accrued in that interim.
We love when our patrons use their online accounts, and we know that this added quarantine precaution has been confusing. We’re working hard to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff, and we appreciate your patience and understanding! As more information becomes available, this quarantine time and other safety practices will adapt.

TumbleBooks!

We are so excited to offer TumbleBooks, for use in the library or at home!  Not familiar with TumbleBooks?  It is a huge selection of interactive children’s books.  Children can browse through them at their own pace, the book has narration and animation and is designed to spark children’s interest in reading.  Browse around some TumbleBooks and let us know what you think!

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