Monday, October 15, 2007

No Fines in Libraries

Aaron Schmidt has posted a piece about libraries not charging overdue fines but using other means to get items returned. There are been some interesting comments added by other librarians. He has now also set up a wiki for libraries to add their names to the no fines list. It will be interesting to see how long the list grows.

I have always wished we would get away from overdue fines. It costs us good will and our circulation staff have better things to do than argue over insignificant amounts of money.

I also think we should not insist that less in demand books come back so quickly. Too many of our books spend too much time on our shelves. I'd like to see the books off the shelves and in readers hands more of the time. We could keep more of our older books if more of them were out. Longer loan periods for these books might be a good move for libraries and readers.

5 comments:

Brenda said...

I've known a number of university libraries that give a due date for the book but don't charge a fine if the book is returned late unless the book has been requested by someone else. That way, if someone has a low demand book, they can theoretically keep it as long as they want. It doesn't quite mean a no-fine system but it is much more user-friendly than automatically charging small fines for each day late and so on.

Sarah said...

I like the idea of allowing users to keep older books out longer, especially if it meant that libraries would be less likely to get rid of those older books. I am one of those people who might actually check out such books. I think it is sad that our culture seems to think that if a book is more than a couple years old, it is not worth reading.

I found your blog when it was linked from the blogger.com homepage once. I am not a librarian, but am an avid reader and library user. I enjoy your interesting reviews and library thoughts/tips.

Tina Kubala said...

I've skipped going to the library on my day off, because I have to wait til payday to pay off the couple bucks in fines from the stack of books my husband and I usually check out being two or three days late.

I don't begrudge the money. I think of it was cheaper than buying all the books I want to read. Still, longer checkout times like you suggested would work for me to avoid almost 100% of the fines. If I check out six books for two weeks, it's hard to finish them all. But gosh, I see them and I want them so bad.

Two weeks for "new books" and four weeks for old, just like renting videos? Works for me.

C.B. James said...

It seems like computers should make variable loan times pretty easy to do. If a book has not been checked out in say six months, you get to keep it twice as long.

I do have overdue books now and then. My library won't let you check any out once your fines go over five dollars. I end up paying a fine once or twice a year.

Thanks for your terrific blog

C.B. James said...

It seems like computers should make variable loan times pretty easy to do. If a book has not been checked out in say six months, you get to keep it twice as long.

I do have overdue books now and then. My library won't let you check any out once your fines go over five dollars. I end up paying a fine once or twice a year.

Thanks for your terrific blog