On Tuesday, August 23, Wichita City Council approved the 2023 budget for the City of Wichita, which includes Wichita Public Library’s initiative to eliminate overdue fines and fees. With the elimination of overdue fines, Wichita Public Library joins libraries across the country that choose to focus on barrier-free access to information.
“This is a step in the direction towards a more equitable and inclusive library system,” said Jaime Prothro, Director of Libraries. “Without the barrier of owing overdue fines, customers can use the Library without incurring fees and being told they can’t borrow materials until they’re paid off.”
Here is what customers can expect:
- Beginning August 23, Wichita Public Library accounts will not accrue overdue fees. It is important for customers to return overdue materials though. If materials are not returned within 30 days of the due date, customers will be responsible for paying the cost to replace the material plus a $7 processing fee.
- Beginning August 24, past overdue fines will be waived from accounts.
- From September 26-October 2, the Library will host an amnesty week for customers who have long overdue materials in their possession. They can bring them back and have material charges waived.
Research has shown overdue fines are not effective in encouraging customers to return materials. Instead, overdue fines become a barrier to using the Library.
“Our library is so much more than just books – it’s about having access to resources, learning and community,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple. “We want to ensure that our library remains accessible to everyone without any barriers.”
Library staff have developed a Q&A on the Library website to answer customer questions. More information is available at wichitalibrary.org/finefree.