BANGOR- The Bangor Public Library turned the page on late fees in the beginning of 2018 by eliminating them all together.
“People will sometimes say I can’t use the library I have dozens of dollars, or forty dollars, or eighty dollars of overdue fees and they would say there’s no way I can come back,” said library director, Ben Treat.
During fiscal year 2019, the library lost $14,000 in uncollected late fees.
Treat said it hasn’t made much of a difference.
“We did increase room rental and with increased room rental we were able to recuperate a lot of the cost so it didn’t pass along to the taxpayers,” Treat said.
They still charge a billing fee for books out for more than 28 days.
That fee doesn’t exceed $5.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in people returning things that they might not have otherwise because they’re afraid,” said Clare Davitt, a reference librarian. “We don’t want to be scary. We want to be as welcoming as possible.”
While this story has had a happy ending in Bangor, smaller libraries still rely on those fees to keep things running smoothly.
“Libraries are usually looking for a way to help people check out books. That’s really the goal,” Treat said. “The right response is to never feel guilty and not come back. The right response is to talk to the librarian and see what the deal is.”