NORFOLK, VA – Norfolk Public Library (NPL) is adopting a fast-growing trend for libraries across the country. Effective July 1, 2021, it will begin a one-year fine-free trial and suspend overdue fines for late books and materials until June 30, 2022.
NPL currently charges 20 cents per day, per item, up to a $6.00 maximum for books and materials. All DVDs, reference books, interlibrary loan materials, book club kits, and Toddle Totes are charged $1.25 per day, up to a $10.00 maximum. Once items have been kept 28 days beyond the due date, they are assumed lost, and the patron’s account is charged the replacement cost and processing fee. Accounts delinquent 30 or more days are referred to the Norfolk Department of Finance and a $25.00 non-negotiable fee is added, even if the items are returned.
During the one-year trial period, patrons are still expected to return or renew items on or before their due date, and they cannot renew items on hold for another borrower. Fees for lost or damaged books and materials will continue, and the remainder of the Circulation Policies remain in effect.
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.
Often, fines are a significant barrier to patrons visiting the library and borrowing materials. Although Norfolk Public Library and Slover Library will be eliminating fines from July 2021 through June 2022, there is still a checkout period with up to two renewals.
NPL will evaluate fines in one year. To date, more than 200 libraries in America have successfully eliminated overdue fines, including major cities, small rural communities, and everything in between. To see who else has adopted this policy, view the interactive map of fine-free libraries.
About Norfolk Public Library: The Norfolk Public Library offers access to information, books, programs, and online resources to meet the needs of our diverse community for life-long learning. The library system consists of two anchor branch libraries, eight neighborhood branches, and mobile delivery with an outreach vehicle. All programs are FREE of charge. Visit www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org or call us at 757-664-READ for more information. NPL- Creating a City of Readers.