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The Minot Public Library will no longer charge fines on items returned late, with the exception of items from the Tool Library.
This decision by the Minot Public Library Board is intended to remove obstacles that may prevent people from using the Library. Patrons checking out items still bear responsibility for returning those items. Patrons with overdue items will receive reminders and will be unable to use Library services until overdue items are returned. The Library will begin automatically renewing checked out items the day before the due date with the exception of tools. Patrons are still responsible for the cost of lost or damaged items, and fines will be charged for overdue tools.
“The Library hasn’t been charging fines for children since July of 2019 and removed all fines in March of 2020 due to restricted hours caused by the pandemic,” Library Director Janet Anderson said. “Our staff used this time to collect and compare some data before making this recommendation to the Library Board.”
Anderson said the data showed the number of extremely long overdue items (up to three months past due) has decreased since staff first began tracking this information in 2013. In addition, the average length of time items have been overdue has decreased since 2019.
“At our July Library Board meeting, we approved a new Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan,” Anderson said. “Our new mission is to be the center of information and exploration for the community while keeping our core values to connect, enrich, and inspire the people we serve.”
A major part of the Minot Public Library’s new Strategic Plan is to prioritize inclusion and the Library Board agreed that penalizing users does not promote inclusion, Anderson said.
“The existence of overdue fines, and the fine payment interaction itself, is one of the most negative aspects of a patron’s relationship with the Library,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping to promote more positive experiences at the Library.”