Library to stop charging overdue fines beginning 1/1/22
The Lake Bluff Public Library is pleased to announce a change to its lending policy. Beginning January 1, 2022, the Library will no longer charge overdue fines for materials that are returned late.
The Lake Bluff Library joins a majority of libraries on the North Shore that have made this change in response to changing wisdom on the efficacy of overdue fines. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that overdue fines do not incentivize timely returns and often result in decreased library usage, particularly for low-income families. "Overdue fines have increasingly served only as an obstacle to using the Library, and we are very excited to be eliminating them,” said Library Director Eric Bailey. “This is an important step forward, one that we are thrilled to be making in time for the New Year."
The Library made the decision to go fine free after several years of careful study by both the Library staff and the Board of Trustees. In addition to concerns about the efficacy and negative impacts of overdue fines, the change also made sense financially. Fine revenue has declined over the last several years, with overdue fines accounting for 0.23 percent of the Library’s total revenue in the current fiscal year. Additionally, new revenue from passport services and license plate sticker renewals has offset the cost of dropping overdue fines substantially. Fees from passport services alone outpace fine revenue by over 400 percent.
While the Library will no longer charge overdue fines, patrons are still expected to return their materials on time and accounts will be blocked when an item becomes 14 days overdue. Additionally, the Library will continue to charge replacement fees for materials that are damaged or lost. More information, including answers to commonly asked questions, can be found on our Fine Free FAQ page.
The Library hopes that this change will encourage patrons to use the Library and bring back people who have avoided coming in because of fines. If you have had a Library card in the past, please call or visit the Library to check on the status of your account. The Library staff look forward to seeing you in 2022.