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Overdue fine rate change for Young Adult & Adult materials

MEDIA RELEASE - For immediate release 
Date: June 13, 2017

Contact: Jodi Nielsen, Senior Program Educator

Overdue fine rate for Young Adult & Adult materials to become $0.25 per day effective July 1

Washington County, Oregon:  The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) is pleased to announce that beginning July 1st  the fine rates for Young Adult and Adult materials in all formats will become $0.25 per day effective July 1, 2017. As the WCCLS Director, Eva Calcagno noted, “the WCCLS member libraries have undertaken this change to simplify the policy - charging one rate of $0.25 per day for Young Adult and Adult materials, regardless of format – books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Fine rates for print and recorded materials had not been adjusted since 2003 and the video fine rate has been the same since the 1980's.” 

Overdue fine rates are attached to the intended audience of the material, not the age of the patron, so all materials with a Young Adult or Adult material type will now incur a $0.25 per day overdue fee regardless of who checks them out. This helps streamline the policy for our patrons.  It is important to note that the fine rate changes will exclude some unique materials which may include items such as admission passes, equipment, puppets, board games, Kill-A-Watts, tote bags, and the Library of Things (at Hillsboro). 

The July 1st change is step two in a two-part process to adjust overdue fine rates for all patrons. WCCLS implemented a new no-fine policy for all children’s (juvenile) material types in all formats on June 1 of this year.  What is not changing is that WCCLS will continue to bill patrons for replacement charges for all materials that are never returned, or are lost or damaged. The fine structure changes are a balance between reducing barriers and maintaining responsibility for use of library materials. 

WCCLS assesses fines as an incentive to return materials, not as a punishment or to generate revenue. According to Director Calcagno, “this year, the total revenue from all overdue fines is projected to equal 1.8% of total countywide library operating expenses.”  Fine revenue has been declining for some time. Over the years WCCLS has increased the number of options that help patrons avoid incurring fines. This includes increasing the number of renewals allowed on each item and increasing loan periods for some formats. WCCLS also offers easy ways to renew by phone or online, email and text reminders to return items before they are due, expanded e-book collections that never become overdue, and many libraries offer amnesty or “Food for Fines” days. Simplifying the fines for print, recorded and video materials to one fine rate is another step in simplifying access for county residents.  

Since the elimination of fines on children’s materials earlier this month, libraries have heard from numerous happy patrons, some of whom offered donations in appreciation.  If you have fines currently on your account library staff are willing to work with you to get your account cleaned up so you can use the library again. If you return long overdue materials, staff will waive the replacement charges (we really do just want the materials back). If you are embarrassed, put them in a book drop – no questions asked! 


The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) includes: Banks Public Library, Beaverton City Library, Beaverton City Library @ Murray Scholls, Cedar Mill Community Library, Cedar Mill Community Library @ Bethany, Cornelius Public Library, Forest Grove City Library, Garden Home Community Library, Hillsboro Public Libraries (Main and Shute Park), North Plains Public Library, Sherwood Public Library, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Public Library, and West Slope Community Library. Two specialty libraries are also a part of the Cooperatives library card service — the Oregon College of Art & Craft and the Tuality Health Education Resource Center.