Fines @ your library

Fines and fees seem to have arisen recently on the library consciousness. A new column today on Library Journal discusses the issue from a primarily public-library perspective, based on a library’s recent decision to begin charging a fee for the use of meeting room space. I’ve also seen this issue discussed on a few Facebook librarian groups I participate in, and it’s come up yet again in the main academic library. We at the branch library remain fond of fines–it’s how we end up getting a lot of materials back!–but those at the main library want to remove this barrier to access.  Where does your library fall? And how do you feel about it?  Do you charge at all? Do you charge fees for space or just materials?

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3 Responses to Fines @ your library

  1. At the Los Banos Campus of Merced College, the fine for late books is 10 cents per item per day. We do charge replacement and processing for damaged books. We don’t have a meeting space (nor instruction room), and we only one group study room, so our fines are mostly the late books, and we don’t have high circulation.

    The fine for returning a computer pass late (we have a 2-hour checkout) is 25 cents per hour (students can renew). If they lose the metal pass, it’s a $20 fine. They really can’t walk away with one of the passes, though, because the alarm goes off if they try to leave with it.

    It’s the printing costs that I think hurt students the most. It’s 10 cents a page, cash only. Students can purchase a print card ($2 for 50 prints) in the bookstore inside the library, but they can’t use them in the library. They can only use the cards during the open lab hours (16 hours during the week) across the hall. I wish we had a college-wide printing solution for this. It’s a problem at the main campus as well, as there are different costs and restrictions for different areas on campus.


    • Hi Lindsay, I hadn’t even thought about copying fees. We used to include a $10 credit which has vanished in the last year. It’s a huge barrier for education for sure.


      • Oh, that is so cool! A print credit is very attractive for students. That’s too bad it disappeared! I just wish we at least had the same rules/costs across the district. We do what we can with our little change bucket, and I’ve been known to pay for students’ prints when they are in a jam.


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