Fine Free

For a quick overview of why we are making this change, please reference our fine free fact sheet here. 

Fine Free Q&A

Why is the Waverly Public Library eliminating fines for overdue books/materials?
How do library fines affect children?
How do library fines affect low income individuals?
How will this decision affect the library financially?
Do library materials still have due dates?
Will there still be consequences for not returning items?
Do any items still accrue fines?
I know I had overdue fines on my account. Are they still there?
Is the fine free practice a permanent change?
Are other libraries eliminating fines?


Why is the Waverly Public Library eliminating fines for overdue books/materials?

After a lot of research and conversation, the library staff and board have decided that overdue fines are not worth denying people access to library services. Just 1% of the library's budget in the last fiscal year came from overdue fines revenue, and several studies from Iowa and across the nation have determined that overdue fines do not make a significant difference in whether or not an item comes back on time. Also, overdue fines are punitive and give the library a negative image. However, the chief concern in this decision was ensuring that library resources and services are available to as many people as possible.

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How do library fines affect children?

Children may check out books with a school class or with a different parent, which can lead to confusion and overdue materials. Children also have little control over when their books are returned. One of the library's most important goals is encouraging young readers, and removing fines puts more books in the hands of children.

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How do library fines affect low income individuals?

What may be a small accumulation of fines to pay for a middle-class individual could be an impossible amount of money to someone already struggling to pay bills. Libraries are for everyone, and we want to be sure we are able to reach all populations equally.

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How will this decision affect the library financially?

Overdue fines revenue represents a very small percentage of the Waverly Public Library's overall budget -- just 1%. The library will also save staff time previously spent on collecting, counting, and tracking fines money. Staff will now be able to spend this time helping patrons in positive ways.

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Do library materials still have due dates?

Yes. Library materials will still have due dates, and the same check-out periods as they do now. You will continue to receive email due date reminders as well as mail and email notices of overdue materials, and you will still receive bills for long overdue items (60+ days).

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Will there still be consequences for not returning items?

Yes. Check-out of additional materials will be blocked if an item is two weeks overdue, or when the cost of a lost or damaged item has not been paid. Check-out privileges will be restored when overdue items are returned or when lost/damaged items have been paid for.

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Do any items still accrue fines?

Yes, just a couple. New 2-day movies and library equipment, like projectors, will still accrue fines.

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I know I had overdue fines on my account. Are they still there?

No! All patrons start with a clean slate. All past overdue fines have been cleared. (Replacement costs for lost or damaged items will still remain.) If overdue fines were keeping you away from the library, we would love to have you back!

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Is the fine free practice a permanent change?

If a year-long trial period is deemed successful by library staff and board, this practice will continue indefinitely.

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Are other libraries eliminating fines?

Yes. Increasing numbers of libraries are going fine-free as the library community reevaluates the effectiveness of fines and realizes the barriers they may present to people, especially children. 

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A high quality of life, friendly and progressive merchants, and a college town atmosphere; this is Waverly, Iowa.