The Marshall Community Library Board has passed a new fine-free policy.
Beginning June 1, the library will no longer charge fines on overdue materials.
Past overdue fines will also disappear.
At Marshall, fines for items returned late were 15 cents per day for books, magazines and compact discs and 50 cents per day for DVDs and video games. The overdue fines were less than 1 percent of the library budget.
The idea is what little the library lost monetarily will be made up in good will.
Fines disproportionately affect low-income families and create a barrier to using the library, according to information from the board. Fear of fines can stop people from checking out books or limits the number they can check out.
Studies have shown that punishing people with fines doesn’t actually teach them to return things on time.
Statistics show that libraries which eliminate fines see increased customer registration and circulation.
Research shows there is no difference in overdue rates between libraries which charge fines and libraries that don’t charge fines.
Fines will be charged for damaged items. Past damage charges will not go away.
Once a patron reaches $10 or more in fines or fees, all fines must be paid in full. In addition, all members of a household will be blocked from checking out or using a computer once there are $10 or more in fines or fees.
Marshall library is joining several other libraries, including Sun Prairie, Prairie Du Sac, Verona, La Crosse and Fitchburg that are also fine-free.