‘I am so excited to be able to remove a barrier to library usage’; Alamance County Public Libraries do away with overdue fines

Piedmont Triad News
Girl looking at book in library, silhouette (Getty)

Girl looking at book in library, silhouette (Getty)

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Alamance County Public Libraries has announced that as of July 1, they will no longer be charging overdue fines for library materials.

“I am so excited to be able to remove a barrier to library usage in our community. Especially
because charging overdue fines does not align with our vision of creating communities and providing
opportunities,” Susana Goldman says.

The Alamance County Commissioners met June 21 and it was decided that ACPL would no longer charge overdue fines. The fines account for less than 1% of ACPL’s revenue over a fiscal year. Library representatives believe that the removal of punitive fines will boost community morale.

“Sad to say, but I’ve had the opportunity to witness lots of unhappy kids leave the library because of
fines owing on either their card or the parent’s card,” said Kathy Garrison, long time public services
manager at ACPL. “During the summertime, Grandparents often bring their grandchildren into the
library to check out books. They spend quality time in the children’s department searching for the right
books only to find out they can’t check out because of fines owed. Not only was this embarrassing to the
Grandparents, it would leave the child in tears. Sometimes the grandparents weren’t in a position to
cover the fines or couldn’t get a card themselves because they were visiting from out of town. On
several occasions I was able to turn those tears into a smile when I checked the books out on my own
library card. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing a happy child leave the library with the
books they picked out. Saying goodbye to overdue fines will mean this happens more often.”

Kathy Garrison

People with overdue materials will continue to receive overdue notice. If it’s overdue for more than 49 days, it will be declared lost, and a replacement fee will be charged.

Library cards are free to anyone who lives or works in Alamance County, and Alamance County Public Library borrowing privileges are also available to residents of surrounding counties.

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