APL to Eliminate Late Fines for Books & Media

APL to Eliminate Late Fines for Books & Media

December 3, 2018 | Library News

Albany Public Library (APL) will eliminate late fines for books and media starting on Jan. 1, 2019 in an effort to decrease barriers and increase access for patrons.

Fine free policies are a growing trend across the country. Libraries that have removed overdue fines are seeing increased use of their collections, more people getting library cards, and patrons returning to the library.

“Albany Public Library is joining the ranks of libraries nationwide that are removing fines for overdue items to make it easier for people to borrow books, DVDS, and other materials for education and entertainment,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL executive director.

“Late fines are a poor incentive for people to bring books back on time. And, they keep people who are unable to pay those fines away from the library. By eliminating late fines, we hope to bring people back to the library and make it easier for them to borrow and use our collection,” he said.

Starting on Jan. 1, overdue books, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks will no longer accrue late fines. Previous late fines for these types of materials on patrons’ accounts will be waived.

“The library administration and the board took years to make this decision. The success of the MyCARD program, which eliminated late fines for children, taught us that fines didn’t affect the return rate of books,” said Karen Strong, president of APL’s Board of Trustees.

“We looked at the budget impacts and found it was something we could manage. Going fine free means more access and fewer barriers to the library’s resources for our patrons,” she said.

Details of the policy are being finalized prior to the Jan. 1 implementation. Updates will be shared on the library’s website and social media channels, and in the branches.

Read the All Over Albany story about APL going fine free in 2019

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.