2 counties become latest to end library late fees

By The Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON — Libraries in two southern Indiana counties are the latest in the state to stop fining patrons for overdue items.

The Owen County Public Library’s trustees voted last month to end overdue fines on Jan. 1, and last week the Monroe County Public Library’s trustees voted both to end overdue fines and cancel patrons’ past debt.

Both counties had charged 25-cent daily overdue fines, although they had eliminated fines for overdue children's books years ago, The Herald-Times reported.

Monroe County library employee Chris Jackson said administrators looked into the practices of “libraries large and small” before deciding to drop the remaining overdue fines.

“We learned from other fine-free libraries patrons will return things,” Jackson said.

The Owen County Public Library’s director, Ginger Kohr, said her staff and board had been urging her to drop overdue fines. She decided the time had come after seeing that libraries from Martinsville to Chicago had dropped fines.

Kohr said the revenue from overdue fines had amounted to about $6,000 a year that was sent to a fund for unexpected expenses.

The Monroe County Public Library collected about $79,000 in overdue fines last year. Jackson said the amount of staff saved by not dealing with overdue fines will mitigate the revenue loss.

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