This January, MCDL materials will no longer accrue late fines. However, items will be deemed lost and charged a replacement fee if not returned after the maximum number of renewals. MCDL joins 17 libraries in the CLEVNET Consortium, including Cleveland Public Library, to discontinue late fines on library items. View the new policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will MCDL cease charging late fines?
January 1, 2020 is the first day of Fine Free status at MCDL. Library users will not be charged late fines for materials checked out beginning January 1, 2020. Items checked out through December 31, 2019 will accrue fines per the prior policy. The only exclusion to this is Wi-Fi Hotspots and the Tools & Tech collection.
How will borrowers know to bring items back?
There will be no changes for materials' due dates or loan periods. Library users may still check their accounts online, in the library, and receive phone, email or text message reminders of materials’ due dates. If a borrower has materials out beyond the maximum loan period the item will be deemed “lost” after a 21 day grace period and the member will be charged a replacement fee. However, if the item is returned, the lost fee is waived.
How does this apply to items originating from other libraries?
Items owned by other libraries checked out by MCDL members beginning January 1, 2020 do not accrue late fines. Make sure your home library is MCDL or you may continue accruing fines from your previous home library location. Staff are happy to help with this at any MCDL location.
How will the library survive this loss of revenue?
MCDL’s estimated fine revenue for 2019 is approximately 0.3% of the General Operating Fund. As always, MCDL continues to explore ways to generate revenue through grants, wise investing and donations.
Will library users return items if there’s no fear of fines?
Yes! In 2018 CLEVNET debuted automatic renewals, which greatly reduced fines and fine revenue for all participating libraries. Auto-renewals allow MCDL members to borrow items and automatically renew up to five times, as long as there are no requests for the items. Nearly two years after the auto-renewal service debuted, MCDL’s circulation is increasing and members are bringing items back in a timely manner. Hundreds of other libraries have gone fine free and find their materials come back early, when readers are done with the item, or by the due date. Not when the maximum loan period is up.
What will happen to my existing fines?
MCDL’s Board of Trustees and Administration are continuing the discussion on this topic and will update the FAQ section as soon as a decision is made.
I’ve never heard of a library eliminating fines. Is MCDL one of the first?
Nationwide, hundreds of libraries have eliminated late fines for overdue materials. Seventeen of the 44 CLEVNET libraries are Fine Free, including Cleveland Public Library. MCDL is part of a nationwide movement to bring greater access to people who need libraries most. At MCDL, library cards are blocked from use once fines reach $10. While that’s not a lot of money for some, for many members that is a barrier for using the library. Many youth and teens may avoid the library for fear of forgetting to return items and accumulating fines they simply don’t have the resources to pay off.
Fine Free at MCDL – By the Numbers
From 2017-2018 Fine and Fee revenue dropped $14,518.00. If every unpaid fine accrued at MCDL over the past year were paid off it would account for less than 0.2% of MCDL’s General Operating Fund, or $20,421.00. Over the time period from 2015-2018 MCDL’s annual circulation increased by half a million items.
“A family with limited means has limited access to entertainment. $2 to rent a move or $5 for a book is not in their budget. No more late fines will give families flexibility. Car breaks down. That’s ok, return the books tomorrow with no fear of charges. This is a fresh start for Medina County residents who benefit the most from the library’s services.”
– Sandy Hinkle, Director, Feeding Medina County
“Our goal is to get books in kids’ hands. Removing the stressors associated with library lending is just a good idea. Families don’t need another expense. Take away the barrier that stands between kids and books so no child or parent has to think twice about benefiting from the library.”
– Karen Peters, Teacher, Garfield Elementary, Medina