Patrons who have been avoiding the Longmont Public Library because of overdue fines can now return with a clean slate.
The Longmont Library will no longer charge overdue fines on books and other circulating materials, including the Library of Things, Experience and Destination bags, board games, DVDs and more. All existing overdue fines have also been forgiven.
In the announcement, the library said this move eliminates a barrier to access and ensures that all patrons have free and open access to knowledge and opportunity.
“Eliminating overdue fines is critical in providing equitable access for everyone,” Library Director Jon Solomon said in a release. “The City of Longmont is committed to equity, and making sure all our residents have access to the opportunities that can help them succeed. We know this is a process, and that making a difference for those who need it most starts with small steps like these.”
According to a 2019 study by the American Library Association, overdue fines disproportionately affect children and low-income households. They often create a financial barrier for people, and libraries that have gone “fine free” have reported less stigma and increased likelihood of patrons re-engaging with their library as a result, the announcement said.
A 2019 study by the Colorado State Library pointed out that “a core mission of libraries is to provide equitable service to all residents in their communities. Overdue fines go against that mission by disproportionately affecting residents in low-income households the most.”
Patrons will still be responsible for fines accrued through outside lending services, like materials borrowed via Prospector or Interlibrary Loans. Charges for damaged or lost materials will continue to be assessed.
Library patrons who have questions about the Fine Free change can contact the Library at 303-651-8476.