Carver Library goes fine-free

Feb 04, 2019

Searsport — Carver Memorial Library has gone fine-free on all materials, and has forgiven any fines on borrowers' accounts.

"We want everyone to be able to enjoy the library without the barrier of fines," library Director Sue McClintock said in a press release. "We will still charge for lost or damaged items."

Borrowers with items more than 30 days overdue will be blocked from checking out until the late items are returned. There is now a "conscience jar" on the counter for those with late books who might wish to contribute.

Going fine-free is a growing trend in public libraries, McClintock said. "Our goal is equitable access for everyone in our community. Fines can be a burden for more vulnerable people and those with low incomes, groups that could perhaps benefit most from library access.

"Fines can prevent people from making full use of what the library has to offer, and may keep them away from the library entirely," she said. "Children, in particular, often have little control over when they can visit the library or return materials. Books and other materials may simply never be returned for fear of dealing with accrued overdue fines.

"The money collected is only a small fraction of the budget, and it saves time for staff while promoting good will in the community," she said.

Carver has also extended its loan period from two weeks to four weeks for most materials, in the hope that the extension will help people return items on time for others to use. Borrowers can sign up for email or text reminders of upcoming due dates.

Borrowers are encouraged to check in with the library to see if there are any outstanding items on their accounts so they can be returned and the accounts cleared.

"If anyone has any books or movies sitting around that may be overdue, now is a great time to bring them back!" McClintock added.


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