FAQ: Fine-Free

Library staff raise hands in celebration with banner announcing Fine-Free status
The Plymouth District Library Board of Trustees has approved the Library becoming fine-free as of October 1, 2022!  Below are the answers to some questions you might have about this change:

What does “fine-free” mean exactly?
It means that Plymouth District Library will no longer charge fees for materials returned late. Patrons are still expected to abide by material due dates and return items on time, but no fines will be due once items are returned.

Without late fees, what incentive do people have to bring borrowed items back?
While the Library will no longer charge fees for items returned late, we will continue, as always, to charge a patron’s account for items damaged or lost (30 days overdue.)

Does the fine-free policy apply to inter-library loan items borrowed through MeL?
No. Plymouth District Library has no control over the fine and fee structures of other libraries, so late fees incurred on items borrowed from other libraries through MeL will remain.

Why is this change being made?
Libraries are defined by their commitment to providing equitable access to information and resources. When fines are added to a user’s account, it can create a barrier that then prevents a patron from using the library. This kind of barrier disproportionately affects patrons with the least resources – exactly the segment of our community that most needs access to the free services and supports that the library can offer.

How will this affect the Library’s finances?
Late fees account for just .3% of the Library’s annual revenue. In addition, there are comparable expenditure savings which will result from refusing the use of a collection agency and redirecting the staff time formerly associated with managing fine payments.  As with other libraries across Michigan and across the country, our Board of Trustees deemed this an important step for removing barriers and ensuring access to information and resources for all.

Are there other barriers being removed at this time?
At the same time as PDL goes fine-free, we will also be removing print fees for up to 10 pages per day. This change will not only improve access, but will help all users more efficiently conduct their business on Library computers. No pocket change? No problem.