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Livingston Parish Library Announces Elimination of Overdue Fines and Outstanding Debt to Increase Library Access
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Livingston Parish Library (LPL) is excited to announce a new policy to eliminate overdue library fines and remove outstanding debt for library patrons. As of December 1, LPL has eliminated overdue fines on all library-owned items currently in circulation; removing barriers to basic library services and resources.
In October 2018, the Library announced the elimination of fines on all teen and youth accounts. With the announcement of this new policy, LPL becomes one of the first public library systems in Louisiana to eliminate fines for all patrons, joining a growing movement in the United States to abolish fines for overdue materials.
Recent studies show that avoiding overdue fines does not serve as an incentive for returning items in a timely manner. Such fines have increasingly been found to often become a barrier that prevents patrons from utilizing services provided by the library.
“When patrons borrow items from the Library and they become overdue, those who cannot afford the fine would avoid coming back to the Library,” said Livingston Parish Library Director Giovanni Tairov. “More often, they would end up keeping the borrowed items and never return them. When this happens, the Library suffers on three levels. The Library doesn’t end up collecting the overdue fine, we lose the borrowed item from our collection, plus we lose a community member from visiting the Library again.”
Library systems across the country that have eliminated overdue fines have reported an increase in long-overdue materials being returned and an uptick in library usage. According to a resolution submitted by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, monetary fines create an economic barrier within the community the library serves. The same resolution goes on to state that fines absorb valuable staff time applying, collecting, and managing dues.
“The mission of the LPL is to provide all members of the community with resources to fulfill their informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs in a welcoming environment,” said Tairov. “The existence of overdue fines prevents that mission from being a universal truth for all patrons. We hope that the removal of fines will offer a fresh start for all patrons to rediscover the Library and the many services we offer.”
Although overdue fines will no longer be assessed on items borrowed from the library, notices will still be sent when the item is nearing its due date. Items on all accounts that are not returned within 45 days of their due date will be considered “lost,” and the full cost of the item will appear on the patron’s account. Patrons can simply return the item to reverse any charges.
The LPL Board of Trustees authorized the policy change at their board meeting on November 25. The new policy also waives overdue fines accumulated on items currently in circulation. Patrons with outstanding items on their account are invited to return borrowed items to any branch of the Library to begin utilizing library resources.
LPL encourages all patrons to return materials in a timely manner. Instead of allowing items to become overdue, patrons can renew them in-person by visiting their nearest branch, via telephone, or online by visiting our website at www.mylpl.info and logging into their account. For more details on renewing items online, visit www.mylpl.info/how-do-i.