Library’s Christmas gift to public: No late fines, ever |

Library’s Christmas gift to public: No late fines, ever

Beginning Jan. 1, Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs will no longer charge late fines for overdue books.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Good news for those perennially late with returning their books and DVDs back to Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs — no more late fines.

“The last thing we want to do is make it harder to use the library,” said Chris Painter, library director.

Painter said some people may view library fines as a small price to pay for using the library, but the threat of late fees actually keeps many users from checking out materials or using library resources.

She said libraries from Denver to San Francisco to Nashville have already gotten rid of late fees.

“We have seen time and time again that libraries who have eliminated overdue fines have seen no impact on materials being returned,” Painter said.

Steamboat mom Christina Peters was walking out with books after asking librarians about the new rules. She’s said it’s just one more great thing about the local library.

“Our library has always been very lenient on children’s fees, and they can check books out longer,” Peters said.

However, the library still has rules for “book bandits” who tend to hang on to their books way too long.

After 30 days of being overdue, the library will ask you to pay for the missing item. If you return it, there’s no fine.

However, once you’ve checked out items worth $25 or more, and it is 30 days past due, your check-out privileges will be suspended.

“It doesn’t mean you can keep your book forever,” said children’s librarian Sherry Holland. “You just don’t have to worry if it’s late.”

The new policy goes into effect Jan. 1.

As if the library isn’t already lenient enough, if you have current fines, just wait until the first of the year, and they will “magically” disappear.

Merry Christmas from your local library.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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