The Westfield Washington Public Library has an exciting announcement to share with our patrons. Effective immediately, the library has eliminated overdue fines on all of our materials! Yes, we are now FINE FREE! We have also removed all outstanding overdue fines on all WWPL materials from our patrons’ records.
Why this change? It’s all about increasing access to our library’s resources and collections. Our goal is to serve all members of our community, and to encourage free and equal access to information and reading materials. Library fines may disproportionately impact lower-income families and create barriers for those who may need public libraries the most. More and more libraries across the country have made this change, and we are looking forward to welcoming back patrons who may have stayed away from the library due to overdue fines. Frequently children, not necessarily through any fault of their own, accrued overdue fines on their accounts, and we are excited to be able forgive those past fines and once again allow them access to our collection.
Items checked out will still have due dates, and we encourage our patrons to continue to return their materials responsibly and in a timely manner. If an item has no more renewals and is 28 days overdue, the item will be marked lost and the patron will automatically be billed for it. Patrons will also still be charged for damaged items. This new fine free policy applies only to library materials specifically owned by the WWPL. Other Evergreen libraries may still charge overdue fines for their materials, so patrons will need to be aware of that if they request items from the broader Evergreen catalog.
Today’s public libraries are dynamic community centers for all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Our goal is to encourage ALL of our community members of all ages to use the library, and to take advantage of the wealth of materials and resources we have to offer. Eliminating overdue fines takes us one step closer toward fulfilling our mission statement of “fostering exploration, discovery, and growth” to our entire Westfield Washington Township community.