Levi Logan checks out some books for Sarah Beattie Tuesday at the Champaign County Library in Urbana. The library is temporarily suspending late fees. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Champaign County Library holding fine-free trial

Champaign County Library is considering going fine-free.

Taking place this summer and running through Oct. 31, the Champaign County public library, located at 1060 Scioto St. in Urbana, will waive fines for overdue items returned to the library.

“We are looking to increase the number of lost or overdue items returned to the collection and make library services more available to the public,” said Director of Champaign County Library Ty Henderson

The trial period is an effort to bring library materials back for more patrons to use. However, patrons will still be responsible for any previous fines as well as for any lost or damaged items in order to keep their accounts in good standing.

“We want to make people aware that there should still be some type of accountability,” Henderson said. “It’s fine-free but we’re not letting patrons off the hook.”

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Although there will not be fines, due dates will still apply and no one will be able to check out more items until overdue items have been returned or renewed.

Notices will also still be sent as a reminder to patrons who do not their items, and eventually, patrons who do not return their items will be charged and stopped from using library service.

Henderson said Champaign County Library usually collects around $9,000 a year in overdue fines, but fines are becoming a barrier to items being returned.

Libraries that do not charge overdue fines are seeing more items being returned to the facility, Henderson said.

“This will bring more items to the collection that we would have to spend money to replace,” Henderson said. “It’s a better return in the long run, better customer experience, and the library would have more of an overall usage.”

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A board meeting is scheduled in late October following the end of the trial period, where Henderson said, the library will determine if the trial was successful.

“We will either go back to the old fines or eliminate fines on the whole,” Henderon said.

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