Lubbock Public Library is excited to announce that it will go fine free starting October 1, 2022. This means that library patrons will no longer receive overdue fines for books, audiobooks, or magazines. Plus, existing overdue fines for these same items will also be removed from the patron’s account. Patrons will still be responsible for lost and damaged charges, and they will still receive overdue fines for other materials in the collection, like DVDs and technology devices. Also, patrons are still responsible for returning materials on time. Accounts with unpaid charges of $9.00 or more, or with materials that are more than 45 days overdue will be blocked from checking out additional materials until the items have been returned or replaced.
We want all patrons to have access to the library. Research shows that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library materials. Instead, fines can quickly become a barrier to using the library. We know that life happens sometimes and it can be difficult to return items on time. But we don’t want overdue fines to discourage patrons from the invaluable free technology, literacy, and lifelong learning resources that our libraries offer. By imposing fines and prohibiting people from borrowing books when the fines add up, we are negatively impacting the people who may need us the most. In January 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) passed a resolution that asserted overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them. The ALA is our largest professional organization and we give serious consideration to their resolutions. In going fine-free, we are joining the ranks of many other public libraries across the nation.
This fine free initiative is just one of the many ways we are trying to make using the library even easier for the Lubbock community. Earlier this month, we announced that we will now have automatic renewals for our books, audiobooks, and magazines (does not include Bestsellers). If one of these items has not been returned by the due date and there are no holds waiting for that item, then it can be renewed up to two times automatically by our system. We hope that this will allow library patrons to have more time with their library materials without the stress of dealing with renewals.
To learn more about our fine free initiative, visit www.lubbocklibrary.com