Colt (from left) and Bridgette Gibson were happy to hear about automatic renewal because they need to keep their books a little longer.
The library recently launched a trial service to offer automatic renewal in lieu of collecting fines for overdue items. This pilot program promotes equitable access especially for low-income families and children – patrons for whom fines may create a barrier to service.
Material will automatically renew for another checkout period except for items with a hold placed on them. Patrons who have requested email or text notification will receive a message when an item cannot be renewed. Otherwise, DVDs will renew for one more week, books and audiobooks for two weeks.
For best use of limited staff, the librarians chose to focus on meeting patron needs instead of punitive and not actually lucrative collections tasks. The system relies on fines for slightly more than one half of one percent of its annual budget. This amount is quickly recouped in time gained for more impactful tasks such as children’s programs, teen activities, interlibrary loans, tech training, public programs of local interest and collection development.
Longstanding library policy encourages children, babies to age 18, to read off fines. One hour of reading or being read to clears one dollar on account. A note from the responsible adult at home will suffice. Loss or damage charges will still be billed.