Fine-Free Decision

Lititz Public Library Fine-Free for Juvenile and Young Adult Materials

A few quick things to note about Lititz Public Library’s decision to go fine-free for Juvenile and Young Adult materials:

  • This only affects Lititz-owned materials. Other county libraries will still charge fines for overdue materials.
  • This only affects juvenile and young adult materials. Other items still accrue overdue fines.
  • Replacement charges still apply for lost and damaged items.
  • Policy goes into effect January 1, 2024.

So, why are we making this move? Studies have shown for years that fines have no appreciable affect on items being returned on time. Fines disproportionally affect those families that are most in need of library materials and services. Our director, Ryan McCrory, has long been a proponent of fine-free libraries and hopes that this move will spread to all materials (not just juvenile and young adult) and all libraries (not just Lititz). “Thousands of libraries have made this decision. Some for as long as a decade now. You can read articles about their moves, and while you hear them say how great it has been for their library – in terms of use and items being returned – I have yet to read of a single library that regrets the decision. In fact, almost all of them say they wish they had done it sooner,” said McCrory. He went on to say that he considers the loss of revenue, which amounts to less than 2% of the annual budget, as the library’s investment in the future of the community. “If we can absorb the roughly $8,000 loss in exchange for increased literacy, and the belief that discovery, curiosity and life-long learning aren’t just slogans but ideals to be lived, then I think it’s a bargain,” McCrory said.

Links  to relevant studies and stories:

Lititz Public Library will no longer charge late fees for juvenile and young adult items – Lititz Record Express (Dec. 7, 2023)

Removing Barriers – Colorado State Library (2015)
Librarians are realizing that overdue fines undercut libraries’ missions – Slate (Feb. 6, 2017)
More libraries are going fine free. Here’s why? – Changing America (Jan. 8, 2020)
Libraries are going fine-free – Reasons to be Cheerful (Jan. 25, 2021)
Why have libraries gone fine-free the last few years? – Intellectual Freedom Blog (Sep. 9, 2021)

Questions or comments?