Library picks a day to waive overdue fees Featured

Worried about returning that book to the library because of overdue fees?

Well worry no more because the Bolivar County Library System has implemented Fine Free Friday.

On the last Friday of the every month, library patrons may return books or other material overdue and their fines will wiped out

Jennifer Wann, director of the Bolivar County Library System, said she and the library staff believe Fine Free Friday will help both the library system and its patrons.

"Our goal at the Bolivar County Library System is to foster a love of reading and to provide access to library materials that enrich people’s lives,” said Wann.

“Many libraries across the country are experimenting with alternatives to traditional library fines including Fine Free Days and even the elimination of overdue fines entirely.

“In 2017 BCLS has collected under $900 in fines; while that’s less than 1 percent of our operating budget, for individuals and families library fines can be a significant expense.

“Approximately 40 percent of the overdue fines BCLS collects on an annual basis are on children’s and young adult (teen) books. Access to books and reading at home is essential for school readiness and success so we want to do everything we can to reduce the barriers to getting books into the home," said Wann.

Fine Free Friday began in July and Wann said the libraries had several people take advantage of the chance to return books overdue material without the worry of fines.

The director added as word spreads of this new opportunity, the library could expect a significant amount of lost materials to find its way back.

Statistics shows that the library system annually checks out around 32,000 books and there are currently 1,200 library materials that are overdue or declared lost.

Wann said an item is determined lost when it is 50 days or more overdue.

"We hope to achieve two things by implementing Fine Free Friday. First, it’s an opportunity for the library to welcome back our users who may have stopped using the library because they have very overdue items.

“Most people intend to return their library books on time, but sometimes things happen – your kid checks out a stack of books and they wind up shoved underneath the bed, or you think your spouse brought them back, but they’ve actually been riding around in the backseat floorboard for a month.

“Sometimes users with very overdue books may feel embarrassed or overwhelmed by the prospect of library fines, so Fine Free Fridays are a way for us to let everyone know that it’s O.K. and we want everyone to continue using the library.

“Second, it helps us get library materials back and ensure that the library is a responsible, efficient steward of public property," said Wann.

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