Why Fine Free?
Quite frankly, assessing a fine for late materials is inequitable; it disproportionately affects low-income families and creates a significant financial barrier to those community members who need the Library most.
Late fines are therefore effectively in opposition of the Library’s number one value: “provide easy access to all library resources”.
These barriers can discourage those who rely on the Library from coming back, or even using the Library to begin with! This means they cannot access books or research materials required for schoolwork, use public computers for reports or job searches.
The Mountain Home Public Library is committed to providing the best Library service for our community and it continues with the elimination of these barriers!
Small overdue fines can quickly become larger amounts with each day. Because people fear fines, they avoid coming back to the Library. We want everyone using THEIR Library!
Really? No more late fines?
Yep! Really! As of September 6, 2019, the Mountain Home Public Library will no longer charge late fines on most MHPL materials that are overdue. The Open Barriers Policy applies to most overdue items. We will still charge for lost or damaged materials. As well as overdue interlibrary loans, circuit audios and digital devices (i.e. Hotspots).
Research and first-hand knowledge of libraries around the country, and in our state, have shown that fines are barriers to preventing people from using the Library and its resources – especially those who need us most. The Mountain Home Public Library wants to remove those barriers, end the stress of owing fines and open access to all.
Don’t you need the revenue from overdue fines?
Historically, overdue fines have contributed a very small amount to the Library’s operating budget. Like 0.67% of our total budget! While the Library and Board of Trustees are always being fiscally responsible, any loss is small in comparison to the impact this policy will have on the community.
For us it is completely worth it for the Library to lose potential revenue to remove barriers to access. Additionally, Libraries were never designed or expected to be revenue making entities. We are here for the good of all community members.