BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester Public Library welcomed the new year by going fine free beginning Jan. 1. This means patrons will no longer be charged overdue fines on materials that are returned late.
As part of going fine free, the library also is waiving all past overdue fines.
“Eliminating overdue fines helps us move closer to our number-one goal, which is to serve the entire Blanchester area,” said Library Director Chris Owens.
The American Library Association has advocated for libraries to remove barriers to access, and fines disproportionately affect low-income families and create a barrier to using the library. Just the fear of accumulating fines keeps some people from using the library.
“We want everyone to be able to utilize and enjoy the wide variety of items available in the library,” Owens said. “Hopefully, by going fine free, we will see an influx of new and returning patrons taking advantage of all that we offer.”
Fines accounted for less than 1 percent of the library’s annual revenue, according to Owens.
The library will continue to charge overdue fines for mobile hotspots due to the high demand and the cost of the items. Patrons also still will be charged for lost, non-returned and damaged items.
The library also began offering another new convenience for patrons on Jan. 1: automatic renewals. This means patrons no longer need to manually renew items; they will renew automatically on the due date up to the renewal limit provided there are no holds on the item.
Patrons will receive an e-mail notification indicating all the items that renewed with their new due date, along with a notice of any items that were unable to be renewed.
For more information, visit the library website at http://blanlibrary.org or call the library at 937-783-3585.