Collecting Late Fees Too Much of An Aggravation in Boston

From the Boston Globe:

On a Saturday morning at the Gleason Public Library in Carlisle last month, Jason Walsh deposited a tall stack of materials on the returns desk and automatically reached for his wallet. It was the end of school vacation, and he was sure that at least a few of the books, CDs, and DVDs his three young daughters had consumed over the past week had accrued some fines.

But the librarian waved him off, explaining that Gleason had stopped charging for overdue materials five months ago.

Like many library patrons, Walsh was surprised. Aren’t overdue fines as integral to the fabric of the public library system as, say, Dewey decimal numbers or signs asking for quiet?

But Carlisle is not alone in its decision to stop charging for late returns. Over the past few years, Massachusetts libraries have been increasingly hopping aboard the fine-free bandwagon, including institutions in Dover, Littleton, and Westford.

Read more to find out why...


I'm ok with waiving fines for the first week or so, but allowing books to stay out without penalty has the unintended consequence of depriving other patrons of their use, especially those who prefer to browse the shelves instead of using the OPAC.

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