Your library will soon be fines free. 

As part of the library’s mission to stimulate interest and appreciation for reading and learning, the Westerville Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines as of the first day of school, August 17, 2017.

This change will increase access to materials, create a more positive customer experience and allow customers to avoid significant financial burdens while also saving staff time and costs associated with fines.  The library’s hope is that now more books will end up in the hands of more people – especially young readers.  According to Erin Francoeur, Executive Director of the Westerville Public Library, "We wanted to start this school year off right by removing fines from our materials and making access to information more equitable and accessible in our community.  Please come in and check us out!"

In 2016, revenue generated from fines made up less than 1% of the library’s annual budget.  The library is confident that customers will continue to return borrowed items in a timely manner for others to enjoy, as studies show that on average items are returned within 7 to 8 days of their due date regardless of overdue fines.

Similar to neighboring libraries such as Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Public Libraries, Bexley Public Library, and Delaware County District Library, customers will continue to be charged for lost and damaged items.  All fines accrued before August 17, 2017 will still be collected.

This change was approved as a resolution by the Westerville Public Library Board of Trustees at the June meeting.  A key reason that the Board of Trustees cites for making the change is to ensure that everyone within the community is given access to the tools that they need to succeed, in school and in life. Board President Mary Lightbody says, “We discussed the issue at several meetings and reviewed data on the possible impact of removing fines for late returns. In the end, we agreed that the benefit to those in our community made this a decision we could support.  We trust that those who borrow library materials will return them on time for the benefit of others.”

FAQs

What will happen if I don’t return an item?

After reminders are sent at 2, 10 and 20 days overdue, you will receive a bill in the mail for the replacement cost of the item and a $5 processing fee. You will have 25 days from the time the bill was sent to return the item before your account is sent to collections and a $10 nonrefundable fee is assessed.

Billed items or fines of $10 or more will result in your library account being blocked. You will be unable to renew or check out items until billed items are returned and fines are paid down to $10.

What about my existing fines?

All fines accrued and fees assessed prior to August 17, 2017 will remain on your account until paid.

Regardless of fines or billed items, you are welcome to use the library's computer labs, borrow ebooks and other electronic materials, reserve a study room, attend a library event or access the library's subscription databases.

Why can’t you automatically renew my items?

Currently, there are technical limitations that prevent the library from being able to provide this courtesy.

What other fines or fees should I keep in mind?

If you do not return an item within 30 days of its due date, you will be charged the replacement cost of the item and a $5 processing fee. You will have 25 days from the time the bill was sent to return the item before your account is sent to collections and a $10 nonrefundable fee is assessed.

In addition, items owned by other libraries are still subject to overdue fines as stated below, based on fee amounts determined by the SearchOhio and OhioLINK consortiums.

  • $0.50 per day ($25 maximum)
  • $125 replacement cost for items borrowed from OhioLINK (at 30 days overdue)

What will the library do to encourage others to return items?

The library still requires that our customers return items on time and in good shape so that the entire community will benefit. These changes will make it easier to be responsible without significant financial burden.

In addition, customers with an item 30 days overdue will be billed for the replacement cost and will be unable to check out or renew items until resolved. Customers will still be held financially responsible for lost and damaged items.

I was mistakenly charged an overdue fine or fee. What should I do?

To resolve possible issues with your account, contact our Customer Services department at 614-882-7277 ext. 2 or customerservices@westervillelibrary.org.

Where can I find more information?

For more details about managing your account, visit our FAQs. Or contact us anytime at 614-882-7277 or customerservices@westervillelibrary.org.

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