Beginning Oct. 1, 2019, Denton Public Library will discontinue charging overdue fines for late returns. The purpose of this policy change is to encourage library use and open checkout access to books, movies, music, and more.
Denton Public Library wishes to remove barriers to library use. Overdue fines conflict with the Library’s vision to be a welcoming place that provides free, equitable access to materials and services for all. Fines disproportionately affect those who need library services the most. The Library recognizes that sometimes life can get in the way, making it hard to return materials on time, and being charged a penalty after returning materials late can be frustrating.
Eliminating overdue fines on materials that have already been returned will give Library users the freedom to check out materials again if they have overdue charges on their account. The Library also wants patrons to have no concerns if they accidently turn in a book late.
“We couldn’t be happier to break down this barrier for our patrons,” said Jennifer Bekker, Director of Libraries. “We’ve seen overdue fines prevent patrons from checking out items or limit the number of items they check out. By getting rid of overdue fines, we are making our patrons our priority.”
Once the new policy is in place, overdue fines will no longer be assessed for materials turned in late. Existing overdue fines on Library accounts will also be removed, so readers can start fresh.
Instead of receiving these fines, patrons who have kept items past their assigned due date will be blocked from checking out additional materials, placing holds, renewing items, or accessing some digital or online resources until all outstanding materials have been returned. After an item is overdue 21 days, the item will be considered “lost,” and the cost for that item will be billed to the patron. Patrons will receive three overdue notifications prior to billing, and if they return the item after the three-week mark, the lost-item fee will be removed.
For additional information on this new policy, see the Library’s No More Overdue Fines FAQ page: https://library.cityofdenton.com/screens/dpl_finesfreefaq.html