The Board of Trustees of the Park Ridge Public Library voted unanimously at its October 20 meeting to approve a timeline in which a patron’s account will be blocked if they have an item checked out that is 14 days past its due date. To get the account block lifted, the patron will need to return the item.
The Board had already approved a six-month trial of an overdue account block temporarily replacing daily overdue fines at its September 15 meeting. The trial period will run from November 1, 2002, to April 30, 2021.
Beginning November 1, any patrons with overdue items already on their account will have their account blocked until they return those items.
If they are unable to return the item after 45 days, they will be billed for the cost to replace the item per current policy.
“The most important thing for patrons to do right now is to return any overdue items they may have at home, so they can avoid having their account blocked on November 1,” said Library Director Heidi Smith. “Second, we would like people to consider the seven-day isolation period items go through when they are returned. Items will not be checked in by staff until that 7-day period is up. We have planned for the isolation period and how it will affect account blocks, and our staff will work with you as we ease into this new trial period.”
Smith added that patrons are encouraged to “be a good neighbor” and return items as soon as they are finished with them, so that others can enjoy them.
Many libraries in Illinois and this region are going fine free. In CCS, the consortium of libraries to which the Park Ridge Library belongs, 20 of 28 library members are now fine free, including neighboring libraries Niles-Maine, Morton Grove and Chicago public libraries.
In interviews conducted by Library staff, area libraries who have gone fine free shared that they had a favorable experience implementing the policies. Smith noted in an August 11 presentation at the Board of Trustees’ Planning and Operations Committee of the Whole that some libraries have determined “fines are not a good return on investment and they see establishing fine free policies as a positive investment in customer service and a way to provide equitable access to the community.”
Fine revenue for fiscal year 2020 was $32,483, representing 1.17% of the Library’s total revenue that year, and 0.75% of the budgeted revenue for FY2021.
For additional information, patrons can visit the Library’s website at www.parkridgelibrary.org/about/fine-free-faqs/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-825-3123, extension 6, to reach the Patron Services team.