Mentor Public Library’s mission is to enrich people’s lives by providing diverse materials, services, and programs. The library recognizes that monetary overdue fines ultimately do not serve the core mission of the library to be accessible to all.
Research shows that fines do not encourage the timely return of materials and often serve as a barrier to those in a lower socio-economic status. In an effort to eliminate economic barriers, Mentor Public Library will eliminate the charge of overdue fines for most items – including books, DVDs, magazines, CDs, and video games – effective May 3, 2021. Exceptions to this are listed below.
The elimination of fines is a customer-service initiative, not a financial one. Overdue fines currently represent less than a tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the library’s operating revenues. But they can create frustration for patrons and even cause them to not use their community library.
Several other libraries in our area – including Willoughby-Eastlake Public Libraries, Morley Library, Kirtland Library, and Cleveland Public Library – have also eliminated many fines. Removing our fines will help prevent confusion for patrons who visit and borrow from several CLEVNET libraries.
Elimination of overdue fines does not eliminate patron responsibility for the items they check out. Patrons will be billed the full cost when items are not returned. Also, patrons with existing overdue fines will still be responsible for payment.
Patrons will continue to be notified when library materials are overdue. A card will be blocked when five or more items are overdue. The library will, in good faith, attempt to notify patrons that their materials are overdue on two occasions. An item will be deemed Lost if it’s not returned within 21 days of its due date. The patron will then be charged for the full price of the item. Patrons with items not returned for a prolonged period of time will be sent to collections and billed a $15 collection fee.
The following items will continue to accrue overdue fines:
- HotSpots and electrical devices
- Library of Things items
- Interlibrary Loan items
- Book kits
- Items from other CLEVNET libraries, according to each library’s fine policy.