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Maine Libraries Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 14:31:19 -0500
Pamela Turner <[log in to unmask]>
Pamela Turner <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; DelSp="Yes"; format="flowed"
To: Rachel Davis <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (95 lines)
Quite frankly - one of the best things we ever did in terms of  
customer service was to eliminate fines when we joined Minerva about  
10 years ago.

I don't remember the fine rate at the time nor the amount we raised  
through fines.  I do remember they took a good deal of staff time to  
administer and it was not a friendly approach to customer service.

I do know that we bring in a decent amount of money through our  
conscience jar.  Some patrons feel more guilty than others.

For example - just last week, a patron had 3 books that were each 3  
days overdue.  With fines, it may have cost him a dollar or so.  He  
put $5 in the conscience jar.  Something like this happens more often  
than you might expect.

We take the stand that fines aren't friendly (being friendly  
encourages support for the library) and don't deter people from  
keeping books longer than allowed.

We do stop a person's card if they have items overdue more than time  
allowed by our Minerva settings.  We find this is often a good  
deterent -- especially when the patron cannot reserve or download  
books because his/her card has been stopped.

We also have an ordinance in which we can ask the police to intervene  
if items are long overdue.  We use this when/if the patron has  
interlibrary loan items long overdue or if the items were acquired via  
ILL.  I try to call the patron before going to the police.  That  
usually works.

Pam Turner
Baxter Memorial Library
Quoting "Rachel Davis" <[log in to unmask]>:

> I am posting this on behalf our library director, Jay Scherma. Feel free to
> respond either to me, to the list, or directly to him:
> [log in to unmask]  Thanks!
> Our Board of Trustees is considering a change of policy to eliminate the
> use of overdue fines here at TML.  We are a municipal department of the
> Town of Cape Elizabeth (pop. 9,025,).  We are interested in the experience
> of any other public libraries that have eliminated the use of overdue fines
> to help us in our decision making process.
> 1) When did you eliminate fines?
> 2) What was your fine rate before you eliminated fines?
> 3) How much money did you raise in fines each year?
> 4) If known, how much money (in staff time & postage) did it take to manage
> fines in your library?
> 5) What were the positive outcomes from eliminating fines?
> 6) What were the drawbacks to eliminating them?
> 7) Did you use any strategies to replace the lost income?
> 8) Where these successful?
> 9) Other thoughts, comments, etc. that might help us in making our decision?
> Thanks for your assistance,
> Jay Scherma, Director
> Thomas Memorial Library
> --
> --
> Rachel Q. Davis
> Assistant Director/Children's Librarian
> Thomas Memorial Library <>
> 6 Scott Dyer Road
> Cape Elizabeth, ME  04107
> 207-799-1720
> [log in to unmask]
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Pamela Turner, Director
Baxter Memorial Library
71 South Street
Gorham, ME 04038
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