Pueblo library district eliminates overdue fines

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:44 AM MST
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The Pueblo City-County Library District announced Friday it will no longer charge late fees for most items.

According to a news release, library administration decided to do away with overdue fines as a way to remove financial barriers and provide equal library access.

The library district said of the 155,200 Pueblo library card holders in 2020, 19,388 patrons were blocked from checking out library materials until they paid late fees.

“Many public libraries across the United States have gone fine free over the past few years,” said Jill Kleven, the library system’s director of user services. “We recognized that in Pueblo, overdue fines were preventing equitable access to all customers especially in certain service areas. By eliminating overdue fines, we are aiming to reduce barriers for our customers who need our library services the most, especially during this difficult time.”

People will no longer be charged late fees for books, audiobooks, magazines, DVDs and CDs. However, fines will still accrue for tablets, Chromebooks, internet hotspots, community passes and Interlibrary Loan materials that are overdue.

If an item is overdue, the library said it will send borrowers a notification 7, 14 and 28 days after the due date. At 30 days, the item will be considered lost, and the borrower will be charged the replacement cost. If that item is later returned, the replacement cost will be dropped.

According to the library district, revenue generated from overdue fines has steadily dropped over the past decade. In 2010, the library collected nearly $120,000 in late fees. In 2019, that amount dropped to just under $20,000.

“This decline is due in part to a change in lending policies, such as increasing the loan limits of DVDs, lowering daily fine amounts and the addition of auto renewal in which an item can be renewed up to six times,” PCCLD said in a news release.

The library system said more people are also using digital materials, which return automatically on their due date.

People with questions can find more information on the Pueblo City-County Library District’s website.

The Pikes Peak Library District eliminated fines in February 2019.

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