The Pioneer Library System is taking another giant step in removing barriers for its younger customers. In celebration of National Library Week, April 7-13, PLS is retroactively waiving all accrued fines on children and teen cards.
This follows last year’s move to make all youth materials across the three-county system fine free and will make library resources available once again to some customers blocked because of fines.
“Fines are seen as punitive and too often they only serve as a barrier to library use,” said Executive Director Lisa Wells.
“The last thing we want to do is create barriers,” Wells said. “We want the opposite: as many people as possible visiting our libraries and using our services.”
The new policy does not apply to fees applied for lost or damaged materials, which will still be assessed. Anyone who has seen their privilege suspended will need to either return those materials or pay for replacement.
Less than one percent of PLS operating revenue comes from fines on youth materials. Staff time spent negotiating, collecting and settling such fines, effectively makes them a net loss. So Pioneer administration and the system’s Board of Trustees agreed that it was time to act – both to do away with fines on youth materials and later to forgive those already accrued on child and teen cards.
Retroactive forgiveness goes into effect on April 7.