Bayne Memorial goes fine free

Ann Hodos, North Campus Staff

Patrons no longer have to find loose change to pay off their library fines at Bayne Memorial Library. The local library in Bellevue is no longer charging late fees for their books.
Last month, The Allegheny County Library Association said eighteen local Library locations are fine free.
The decision is part of a trend happening nationwide. This movement was started to help promote social equality for children, teens and at-risk populations, who are often disproportionately affected by fines. The American library Association wants to push libraries “to scrutinize their practices of imposing fines on library patrons and actively move towards elimination them,” according to a resolution passed last year.
There is a concern that people may not return their books if there is no late fine. However, other libraries that have chosen to go fine free have not seen a major change in the return rate of items. Although the fines are waived, the materials will still have to be returned by their due date or they risk paying a replacement cost. The Library will still be sending out notices to remind patrons of their due dates.

Rebekah Waldron

Dawn Jackson, a librarian at CCAC North, notes that the college’s libraries do fine students for overdue materials. “It’s a good way to get people to bring back the materials.” However, she recognizes the financial obstacle this may cause. “I often forgive first time offenders,” she says
At Bayne, fines that have already been paid in the past will not be refunded. However, outstanding fines that remain unpaid as of Jan. 1 2020, will be waived by the library. Patrons that still owe replacement fees must still pay them.
The waiving of fines will not affect the Bayne Memorial Library’s income because fine revenue is not a steady source of income. In fact, the revenue received through fines has decreased drastically by about 50 percent over the last five years, due to the increased usage of eResources, according to the library’s website.
To make up for a loss in fine revenue, there will be a small increase in state funding.
The fine free experiment is now in its third month after taking effect on the first of the year. Other libraries participating include Monroeville Public Library near CCAC Boyce.