Here in all-volunteer South Thomaston we also eliminated fines about 3 years
ago. Before that we charged .05/day (but only for days that we were open -3
days/week) The amount of time spent calculating and collecting nickels and
dimes was deemed very counter-productive and the all volunteer staff often
just said - oh, forget it leaving me to clean up the mess in the automated
We put out a "guilt jar" (one of our patrons wanted to know when the Quilt
was going to be finished and were we going to display it?) and now use that
to collect not only overdue money but also "contributions" to pay for
printing and copying. The town does not want to have to go through the
accounting nightmare so they graciously let us keep the money for
incidentals. Last year the monies collected paid for our ILL postage (we're
not on the van service.)
It's been a positive experience for both staff and patrons, and I can point
out we have the same experience of most people paying way more than we'd
ever charge in fines/printing.
Director, South Thomaston Public Library
P.O. Box 3
So Thomaston ME 04858
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From: Maine Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Rachel Davis
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [MELIBS-L] Eliminating fines
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 <http://www.thomasmemoriallibrary.org/index.shtml>
6 Scott Dyer Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
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