The New Braunfels Public Library is fine-free beginning Saturday, Feb. 1, joining the growing number of libraries across the country that are eliminating overdue fines.
“Recent studies have shown no significant difference in overdue rates between libraries that charge fines and those that do not,” said Library Director Gretchen Pruett. “These same studies also show that fines — or the possibility of incurring an overdue fine — are a deterrent for library usage, especially among those who need the library’s resources the most. We are always trying to create and keep library users and going fine-free is the library effectively telling the New Braunfels community, ‘We want you back.’”
On Feb. 1, all existing library fines will be forgiven, and patrons with cards blocked due to overdue fines will be able to reactivate their cards by phone or in person.
Going forward, library materials not returned within two weeks of their final due date (after all renewals have been exhausted) will be marked as “lost,” which will block the user from checking out any more items. When the late materials are returned, borrowing privileges will be restored.
The fine-free start date also coincides with the beginning of Love Your Library month, which the library celebrates each February. To celebrate going fine free, the library will be hosting drawings for “Welcome Back Packs” throughout the month. Starting Feb. 1, patrons can enter the drawing by coming into the library, folding an origami heart (paper and instructions located at the holds shelf), writing down why they love the library with their name and phone number, and placing it in the entry cup.
Regular library users may also remember “Food for Fines” that has taken place during February in past years, where bringing in non-perishable food items for the New Braunfels Food Bank equaled a reduction in overdue fines. Going fine free will not affect the food drive, and the library is still accepting non-perishable food items throughout the month.
For more information about the library’s decision to go fine free, visit newbraunfels.libguides.com/finefree or call the library at 830-221-4300.