Public Libraries Are Essential Community Assets

And ours is now even more accessible.

“Starting January 1, 2020, Timberland Regional Library is no longer charging overdue fees on our collection materials. In addition, we are currently working with our system vendor to remove existing overdue fines. Why are we making this change while facing budget challenges? Research has shown that overdue fines act as an emotional barrier for many people and create a disproportionate financial impact on many in our communities. Library fines represent less than 1% of TRL’s overall revenue and data indicates that it is costing more in staff time to collect overdue fines than TRL receives in fines revenue. We’ve heard from patrons who have stopped using library services altogether because they can’t pay their fines, or they worry about being judged for being unable to pay. They’re not attending programs, accessing online resources, asking for help in finding a job, or utilizing the library in any other way that would enrich their lives. Eliminating overdue fines is a means to bringing people back into the library and supporting our communities.”

Don’t take advantage though.

“Patrons are still responsible for ensuring that items are returned by the due date. This Fines Free policy does not impact fees for lost and damaged items, those charges will remain on patron accounts. Items overdue for longer than 28 days will be considered lost, and patrons will incur a replacement fee for the item. Accounts with more than $10 in fees will have their borrowing privileges suspended until the item is returned or the replacement fee is paid.”