St. Joseph County Public Library goes fine-free!

December 20, 2021 | By: Communications Staff

Are you looking for another reason to celebrate the Library? How about by saying goodbye to fines? Starting in January, you will no longer be charged a late fee when you return a book past its due date. Now, you can check out books and other materials without worrying about accruing fines.

Beginning January 1, 2022, the St. Joe County Public Library will no longer charge fines for overdue materials or rental fees for DVDs. The Library is also giving everyone a fresh start by waiving all overdue fines on current library card accounts. As a welcoming place for all, our goal is to increase access and eliminate financial barriers that keep community members from using the library.

We are making this change because it is the right thing to do for our community. Fines often have a bigger impact on the people who can least afford them. We want to make it as easy as possible for our neighbors to use the valuable resources the library has to offer.

It should be easy to use the library, and that means we must remove barriers and invite people into our space. This is an important step toward making the library a more welcoming place for people to make connections, explore their interests and learn new skills.​Debra Futa, Executive Director

Going fine free has the potential to make a big difference for so many people in our community. Nearly 100,000 individuals have a St. Joe County Public Library card, and fifty-one percent of them have at least one charge on their account. By wiping the slate clean and waiving charges for overdue materials, we want to invite everyone to use their library cards again. And, we hope that more people will sign up for a new card knowing they will not have to worry about fines for overdue material.

The Library serves as an inviting place for all, and eliminating late fees will increase access for all members of our community, particularly those who are impacted the most by late fees and can least afford to pay. We are confident that this new policy will encourage local residents to take advantage of the resources, books and ten locations the Library has to offer.

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