Norfolk Public Libraries Won’t Assess Late Fees For One Year

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During a one-year trial period beginning July 1, 2021 the Norfolk Public Library will be assessing no late fees for books and other materials.

At present, the libraries charge twenty cents/day for late books up to $6.00. While it may not seem like much, sometimes borrowers will simply opt to not return to the library, meaning the library system has lost a user, and other users have one less copy available to them until the library replaces it.

Libraries across the country are finding that the traditional way of handling late books is counter-productive, and that a more forgiving policy should be adopted.

From the city’s site:

In 2019, the American Library Association passed a resolution concluding that “monetary fines create a barrier in public relations, and absorb valuable staff time applying, collecting, and managing dues.” Fines represent less than 1% of NPL’s budget and money collected goes to the City of Norfolk’s general fund, not directly to the library.

So for at least a year the more irresponsible readers among us will be experiencing a little less stress as that due date approaches. Borrowers will still be expected to return books or renew them by that date, of course, and fines can still be incurred for damaged or lost books.

In one year, the city will decide whether to continue with the new policy, so here’s hoping the experiment is the success it has been elsewhere. And if it’s been a while since you’ve been to a regional public library, it’s free and easy to sign up!

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Maddison Pace

Maddison Pace

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