Florence​ ​Library​ ​to​ ​End​ ​Overdue​ ​Fines​ ​on​ ​Kid​ ​and​ ​Teen​ ​Books

By  | August 24, 2017 | Filed under: News

FLORENCE-If​ ​your​ ​family​ ​checks​ ​out​ ​children’s​ ​and​ ​young​ ​adult​ ​books at​ ​Florence-Lauderdale​ ​Public​ ​Library,​ ​your​ ​life​ ​is​ ​about​ ​to​ ​get​ ​a​ ​little​ ​easier.​ ​Beginning September​ ​5,​ ​the​ ​library​ ​will​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​charge​ ​overdue​ ​fines​ ​on​ ​any​ ​materials​ ​in​ ​the​ ​children’s and​ ​young​ ​adult​ ​departments.
It’s​ ​a​ ​change​ ​that​ ​library​ ​staff​ ​members​ ​believe​ ​will​ ​remove​ ​one​ ​more​ ​barrier​ ​to​ ​reading​ ​and learning.​ ​Youth​ ​Services​ ​Librarian​ ​Jessica​ ​Fenn​ ​Hill​ ​says​ ​that​ ​she​ ​never​ ​wants​ ​“the​ ​threat​ ​of​ ​a fine​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​reason​ ​parents​ ​choose​ ​to​ ​not​ ​allow​ ​their​ ​children​ ​to​ ​check​ ​out​ ​books.”
“My​ ​main​ ​goal​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Youth​ ​Services​ ​Department​ ​is​ ​to​ ​foster​ ​a​ ​love​ ​of​ ​reading​ ​in​ ​children,​ ​and that​ ​was​ ​made​ ​tougher​ ​when​ ​fines​ ​became​ ​an​ ​issue​ ​for​ ​families,”​ ​said​ ​Hill.​ ​“There​ ​are​ ​multiple reasons​ ​why​ ​a​ ​family​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​return​ ​materials​ ​on​ ​time:​ ​schedules​ ​change,​ ​vehicles break​ ​down,​ ​or​ ​family​ ​members​ ​get​ ​sick.​ ​We​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​these​ ​everyday​ ​occurrences​ ​to​ ​keep children​ ​from​ ​accessing​ ​books.”​ ​With​ ​those​ ​fines​ ​lifted,​ ​she​ ​expects​ ​to​ ​see​ ​more​ ​families checking​ ​out​ ​greater​ ​numbers​ ​of​ ​books​ ​for​ ​their​ ​children.
Because​ ​of​ ​the​ ​costs​ ​of​ ​buying​ ​new​ ​books,​ ​card-holders​ ​who​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​return​ ​children’s​ ​and​ ​young adult​ ​items​ ​will​ ​still​ ​be​ ​charged​ ​for​ ​the​ ​replacement​ ​costs.​ ​However,​ ​no​ ​late​ ​fees​ ​will​ ​be​ ​added, and​ ​there​ ​will​ ​be​ ​no​ ​fines​ ​at​ ​all​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​the​ ​items​ ​are​ ​returned​ ​to​ ​the​ ​library.
Teen​ ​Program​ ​Coordinator​ ​Jaimee​ ​Sockwell​ ​Hannah​ ​is​ ​also​ ​optimistic​ ​about​ ​the​ ​policy​ ​change. “Teens​ ​often​ ​have​ ​more​ ​choices​ ​and​ ​independence​ ​when​ ​checking​ ​out​ ​books,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​still​ ​don’t have​ ​control​ ​over​ ​exactly​ ​when​ ​they​ ​can​ ​visit​ ​the​ ​library​ ​to​ ​return​ ​their​ ​books,”​ ​said​ ​Hannah. “​We​ ​want​ ​as​ ​many​ ​young​ ​people​ ​as​ ​possible​ ​reading​ ​and​ ​learning,​ ​so​ ​we’re​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​any obstacles​ ​that​ ​might​ ​be​ ​in​ ​the​ ​way​ ​of​ ​them​ ​having​ ​full​ ​access​ ​to​ ​their​ ​public​ ​library​.”
When​ ​the​ ​new​ ​policy​ ​goes​ ​into​ ​effect​ ​on​ ​September​ ​5,​ ​it​ ​will​ ​apply​ ​to​ ​all​ ​items​ ​with​ ​call​ ​numbers that​ ​start​ ​with​ ​or​ ​include​ ​E,​ ​J,​ ​JF,​ ​JV,​ ​YF,​ ​or​ ​Y.​ ​These​ ​collections​ ​include​ ​over​ ​24,000​ ​books, audiobooks,​ ​and​ ​DVDs,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​which​ ​will​ ​now​ ​be​ ​fine-free.
Hill​ ​is​ ​excited​ ​about​ ​what​ ​the​ ​change​ ​will​ ​mean​ ​for​ ​families​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Shoals.​ ​“We​ ​know​ ​that​ ​access to​ ​books​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​early​ ​literacy,”​ ​Hill​ ​said.​ ​“Access​ ​to​ ​books​ ​means​ ​developing​ ​basic reading​ ​skills,​ ​learning​ ​vocabulary,​ ​an​d—most​ ​importantly​ ​to​ ​me—​bonding​ ​over​ ​the​ ​act​ ​of reading.​ ​That​ ​access​ ​and​ ​bonding​ ​leads​ ​to​ ​a​ ​lifetime​ ​of​ ​learning.”

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