- The elimination of fines is a national trend
- Fine free libraries include major systems in Los Angeles and Baltimore as well smaller cities like St. Paul and Nashville
- Regionally, the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Cleveland Public Library are fine free
- At its 2019 Midwinter Meeting in January, the American Library Association passed a resolution calling monetary library fines “a form of social inequity” and urging libraries “to scrutinize their practices of imposing fines on library patrons and actively move towards eliminating them.”
- Fines often disproportionately affect children, teens, and at-risk populations
- The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) has waived all fines on Children’s materials since 2010
- The Fine Free Library Pilot in Allegheny County was proposed by the Library Fellows, a grant funded initiative of the Allegheny Regional Asset District.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will people still return their items?
Other libraries and systems that have gone fine free have not seen a significant change in the rate of returned items. 95% of items checked out are still being returned within a few days of the due date.
Won’t people just keep their items?
Even though fines are waived, materials will still have a due date and must still be returned. All library materials not returned to the library will be subject to a replacement cost. Notices will still be sent reminding patrons of their due dates.
Doesn’t the Library need the money?
Traditionally, fine revenue is not a steady source of income. Fine revenue at Bayne Library has decreased by almost 50% in the last five years, partially due to increased usage of eResources. A small increase in state funding makes up for the loss in fine revenue at Bayne Library.
Do I still owe my old fines?
The Library will waive any fines that remain unpaid as of 1/1/2020. This will not include items that are lost or billed. Replacement fees must still be paid.
Can I be reimbursed for fines I already paid?
Previously paid fines will not be reimbursed, however outstanding fines will be waived (except for lost/replacement items)