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We Are Fine Free

Starting 1 February 2022, we are a Fine Free library!

With the library fine-free trend spreading, the Peru Library Board of Trustees has been discussing changing to fine free, deciding at their January meeting to make the change.

Most material borrowed from the Peru Library after 1 February will not have fines charged on a late return – fines will be charged on late returns of the Library’s Hotspot and Rokus. Late fees will not be charged on books, dvds, magazines, audiobooks, kits, and other material. Only the Hotspots and Rokus continue with fines on late returns.

As part of the fine free change, current Peru Library fines will be removed from the library cards of all Peru Library patrons.

However, patrons remain fiscally responsible for any material they do not return or damage. Once a book, dvd, etc. is 21 days overdue, a bill will be sent to the patron for the replacement cost of the book, dvd, etc. And current fees remain on patrons’ accounts with outstanding bills for lost and/or damaged materials. When the patron returns the library’s books, dvds, etc, the lost item fees will be dropped and any fines removed.

For decades, libraries charged fines as a way to encourage patrons to return borrowed items on time. Various studies have shown the late fines did not encourage but hindered patrons from returning overdue items. These charges caused long-term feelings of shame or disproportionally impacted a library’s young, elderly, and/or financially disadvantaged patrons. Removing fines from overdue material is a way to increase library access to everyone by removing some of the barriers.

Other area libraries have gone fine free, La Salle also on 1 February, Richard A. Mautino (Spring Valley), Princeton, Reddick (Ottawa), Jacobs Library (IVCC). Graves Hume (Mendota) and Oglesby are discussing a move to fine free. On par with other libraries, late fines accounted for less than 1% of the library’s budget.