Nampa and Boise Public Libraries eliminate fines, wipe out existing debts

Boise Public Library
Posted at 10:38 AM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 13:57:28-04

NAMPA, idaho — Beginning today (Oct. 1), the Nampa Public Library is eliminating all fines for overdue items -- and all current overdue fines on patron accounts will be forgiven. “With this, we will be erasing one of the most prevalent barriers to access and inviting patrons back to the library,” said Nampa Public Library Administrative Coordinator Brittany Sullenger.

“In addition, checked-out items will automatically be renewed up to two times if the item does not have a patron hold or a reservation on it,” she explained. “Most books renew two times, most media renews once, magazines and hot titles do not renew.”

Currently, over 13,000 of the 58,000 Nampa Library accounts have overdue fines on them, and almost 3,000 of those accounts are blocked and cannot be used. “Eliminating fines is a national trend that we want to follow because it will increase patron access, reduce inequitable impact of overdue fines, increase staff efficiencies and improve patron relations,” said Nampa Public Library Director Claire Connley.

If an item is kept ten days past its due date, the item will be considered “lost” and patrons will be charged for the replacement of the item plus a five-dollar processing fee.

This charge will be waived when the item is returned. However, once an item has been overdue for 100 days, that item is removed from the library’s records and it belongs to the person who did not return it. That person must pay for the item replacement, plus processing fee.

Accounts will still be charged for lost or damaged items.

Fines will also still be assessed for inter-library loans and in-house equipment.

If you have overdue fines on your account, or if you have any questions, you are urged to stop by the Borrower Services Desk at the Nampa Public Library or call 208-468-5800 (option 2).

The Boise Public Library will also be eliminating fines.

As of March 2019, 11,042 Boise Public Library cardholders were blocked from checking out materials because of outstanding late fines of over $10.

Overdue fines were projected to account for $124,000 (less than one percent) of the FY19 budget.

Eliminating fines is part of a national trend towards removing barriers and increasing access for library customers, particularly youth and low-income households.

“This is an exciting move for Boise Public Library,” said Public Services Manager, Sarah Kelley Chase. “It strengthens our commitment to providing universal access to all community members and we hope this change will encourage an increase in use for customers who need it most.”

Checked out materials will automatically renew up to five times, unless the item is on hold for another customer.

The library will issue email reminders when due dates are approaching and when an item is overdue. Once an item is past its due date, additional items may not be checked out until the overdue item is returned.