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Dear Library Patrons,

Starting September 1, Midlothian Public Library will join the growing number of libraries across the country that have gone "fine-free."

What does this mean?

When you check out an item at Midlothian Public Library and return it late, you will no longer be charged a fine. In addition, all fines for overdue materials you've already returned will be forgiven. Also, if you have an item in your possession that has been overdue for so long that it has been counted as "lost," if you bring back that item in good condition, the lost charge and processing fee will be waived.

Why are we doing this?

Library fines have been shown to create a barrier to access to library resources for those who can least afford it. Individuals who cannot pay their fines sometimes give up on library use, which runs contrary to this library's commitment to encouraging lifelong learning. Also, research shows that fines don't really work as a motivator to return materials on time. Fines or no, people return items to the library at about the same level of timeliness.

Does this mean I never have to return what I borrow?

Well, no, it doesn't mean that. We still ask that you return your items in a timely manner so that others may use them. And we have certain safeguards in place to remind you to do that:

  • When an item becomes 14 days overdue, your account will be blocked until the late item is returned.
  • If an item is 42 days overdue, the item will be counted as "lost," and you will be billed for the cost of the item plus a processing fee until you return it.
  • If an item is 60 days overdue, your bill will be sent to a recovery agency, who will send you notices until you return the item. The recovery agency charges us a $10 service fee, which we will pass on to you and require you to pay.
  • If you damage or lose a book, you will still be responsible for paying the replacement cost of the book plus a processing fee.
  • If you have $10 or more of unpaid lost or damaged charges, processing fees, or referral agency fees, your card will be blocked, and you will have to pay down your balance to under $10 to use your card again.
  • If you check out materials at another library that does charge fines, you can still accrue overdue fines at that library.
  • For complete details, please see our Circulation Policy.

So, on September 1, we hope you will join us in celebrating our new fine-free status by checking out some library materials--either by curbside pickup, homebound delivery, or in the building by appointment or by walk-in at one of our one-hour time slots. Please see www.midlothianlibrary.org/reopening for further details.

Wishing you safety and wellness,

Jennifer Cottrill, Library Director
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