At the Kaukauna Public Library, patrons are catching a break. The library is the latests to join a movement that is picking up momentum across the country: eliminating fines for late books.
According to WPR, around 17 percent of users at the Kaukauna Public Library had blocked accounts due to late fees of $5 or more.
The movement is fueled by libraries that are looking for ways to better serve their community. Research shows that late fines have the biggest effect on underserved populations like kids, the elderly and those living on fixed incomes.
Ashley Thiem-Menning, library director at the Kaukauna branch said that the change in policy has brought some relief to the patrons they serve.
She pitched the idea of eliminating late fees to the local library board in 2019, citing that money collected from late fees made up less than 1 percent of the library’s operating budget in 2019. After receiving municipal support, the Kaukauna Public Library dropped the fee requirement.
“We’re lucky the city did not ask us to come up with a way to replace that revenue loss,” Thiem-Menning said. “They understand the importance of having equitable services for all the members of our community.”
Read more about changes at Wisconsin libraries here.
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