The Peoria Public Library is joining a growing number of public libraries across the country in adopting a fine-free policy, effectively eliminating barriers to the library’s multimillion-dollar collection of resources and materials.
"When we broke down the fines by ZIP codes, we saw the ZIP codes where the median income is lower, the fine accumulation is higher," said Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton. "So we thought that it was disproportionately affecting those who might have a harder time paying for the fines, or the fines might be more of a burden to them. And we didn't want the fines to be a barrier to them for using our services."
Starting this week, patrons will no longer be charged for returning items past their due date, and past overdue fines are forgiven. Fees for damaged and unreturned/lost items--past or future--will still apply, however.
The Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved the fine-free policy.
"I think it's going to create a more positive user experience for our patrons," said Yelverton.
Peoria joins more than 200 libraries in the U.S. that have either fully or partially eliminated fines, including the Chicago Public Library and, more recently, Bloomington, Normal, Fondulac, and Champaign public libraries.
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