Some Libraries Slated to End Fines

July 27, 2021

Has your library been debating whether to keep or eliminate your current system of library fines? Why some libraries are ending fines may seem surprising at first, but in fact could actually prove to be beneficial for both the library and its patrons. If your location already has thorough Library Insurance, you may not need to institute late fines as a way to ensure your stock comes back to you in time. Here’s why a growing number of libraries are slated to end their fines and shift to a slightly different model.

It Could Help Attract More Patrons and Increase Foot Traffic

Without the imposition of fines, or with a greatly reduced imposition of them, your library may be able to attract many more new patrons, including core audiences such as children. Additionally, libraries that advertise their no-fine system may bring in increased foot traffic. This move may be helping some libraries to:

  • Encourage children and young people to check out more books
  • Draw in new patrons to the library
  • Incentivize more exploration of the library’s book collections

Amnesty Offerings Could Improve Your Library’s PR Image

Libraries that are opting to reduce or eliminate their fine system may also be in for a significant PR boost. Those who offer amnesty for certain types of fees, for instance, may be perceived by the community as a more welcoming place for all. Consider whether your location would be interested in:

  • Offering amnesty for fines up to a certain amount or for a certain number of late days past the return due date
  • Demonstrating your library’s commitment to improving literacy in the community
  • Encouraging all community members to come read and check out books without having to worry about small fine amounts

It May Not Affect Your Library’s Bottom Line as Much as You Think

Perhaps the biggest reason most libraries impose late fines is for budgetary reasons, so it’s worth considering whether removing fines would impact your bottom line. Many libraries that eliminate, restrict or reduce fines find other ways to compensate for the potential budgetary risk. For instance, they may choose to:

  • Decrease overhead in other areas
  • Only institute fines of certain amounts if the books or materials are over a month late
  • Stock materials on a subscription basis rather than making pricey outright purchases

Even if your library currently operates on a late fines system, it’s possible to follow the lead of many other libraries today and shift away from fines, especially if you have thorough Library Insurance in place. Consider whether removing fines would help your library attract more patrons, improve its overall image and leave the bottom line unaffected. If so, scheduling an end to your library’s late fines system could be the right move.

About Regan Agency

A family-owned business, Long Island-based Regan Agency has more than 35 years of experience serving the library insurance and risk management needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We have earned the trust of our clients based on our integrity and commitment to offer individuals and businesses quality library insurance products at competitive prices backed by unparalleled responsive service. Just give one of our professionals a call at (855) 272-1194.