The Trustees of the North Lake County Public Library District in Polson, MT voted unanimously to approve a Fine Free Policy for the Library effective August 3, 2020. Library Director, Abbi Dooley states that “late fines are not effective in getting materials returned on time. Many library systems who have taken this step have shown that fines have no impact on materials return rates. Eliminating late fines can have an immensely positive impact on our community by providing more equitable access to materials and library services for everyone.” She also noted that “fines are not a significant source of revenue for us. They account for less than 1 percent of the library’s total revenue.” The library will make all books, movies, audiobooks, music CDs and magazines fine free on August 3. Some items will still have late fines such as laptops, telescopes, NASA backpacks, and interlibrary loan materials typically received from out of state.
Dooley stated that items will still have due dates and will be considered lost after 30 days overdue. She encourages library users to sign up for email and text reminders. Dooley is also encouraging anyone with very overdue library materials to bring them back. “We just ask that you help us out by putting your name or library card number on a slip of paper inside the item so we can remove any charges.” The Library will be forgiving any existing late fines on August 3, so Dooley hopes this will give everyone a fresh start and a new opportunity to visit and utilize the services of the Library.