Whereas libraries exist to enrich their community and strive to provide stress-free and open access to all our patrons, Valley of the Tetons Library District is adopting a fine-free policy with regard to the majority of our checkout materials.
Libraries across the nation have demonstrated that imposing late fees on patrons is not an effective deterrent to the return of late materials. Instead, it commonly creates barriers for youth or may cause patron guilt, making library use less likely. We strive to overcome these barriers and increase access to our patrons, trusting that our show of good faith will encourage patrons to return materials in a timely manner.
While traditional fines will not accrue, a replacement cost will be charged if an item is not returned within a reasonable time. For books and materials that check out for three weeks, after 30 days past due the patron’s account will automatically incur the full replacement cost of the item. For DVDs and items that check out for one week, at 15 days past due the patron assumes the full replacement cost of the item. It is at the discretion of library staff to determine if special circumstances allow replacement fines to be waived if items are returned after these designated periods. Once paid for, materials are the property of the patron and replacement fees will not be refunded.
Patrons with charges for items that have not been returned in the period listed in the previous paragraph will have their account blocked until related fees have been paid or have been satisfactorily worked out with the library director/library staff.
If an item is late due to being lost or damaged, patrons should notify Valley of the Tetons Library of the items’ status. Librarians will work with patrons to extend due dates (when possible and within reason) for missing items. Replacements may be accepted for lost or damaged items if:
- The library has been notified within a reasonable amount of time
- The replacement is in “new” condition and matches the description of the item lost/damaged (i.e. hardcover, paperback, large print)
Due to their nature and cost, some library items will still incur fines. All hotspots and materials in the Tool Library are excluded from this Fine-Free Policy. Also, as Valley of the Tetons Library cannot make policies governing what happens to materials belonging to other libraries, this policy does not apply to Interlibrary Loans.
An email reminder will be sent 2 days prior to an item being due, and reminder emails will be sent 3, 10 and 30 days after the due dates. To ensure you receive these emails, please make sure we have an up-to-date email address attached to your account. Not receiving library emails does not negate the patron’s responsibility for returning library items.
We are confident that our patrons will strive to continue returning library materials in a timely manner. When items with holds have not been returned on time, library staff will make an effort to contact patrons with the items checked out to ensure timely access to desired items.
PRIOR LATE FINES
All late fines existing before the adoption of this policy will be waived. Lost/damaged item charges will remain.
Adopted on October 2, 2018 by the Board of Trustees of the Valley of the Tetons Library