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Park City And Summit County Librarians Report Fine-Free System Is A Popular Move

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The directors of the Park City and Summit County Libraries say they’ve received good comments from the public, after they moved to a fine-free system for books and DVD’s.

Summit County Library Director Dan Compton and Park City Library Director Adriane Herrick-Juarez said they decided to make the change last summer.

Compton said they were visited by a representative from the Salt Lake City library and he made a compelling case to their boards.

“Fines are one of the number one negative customer experiences in the library,” Compton explained. “We also don’t want to create barriers for people especially children to come to the library if they do have late fees.”

Herrick-Juarez said it’s a trend across the country, so it made sense for the city and county to make the change together.

They said they found it didn’t make economic sense for them to pursue fines.

“We were collecting in our library about $6,000 and we were paying about $17,000 to do that in staff time,” Herrick-Juarez said. “So, we were losing money.”

“Ours was about $11,000 in revenue and we estimate we were spending over $20,000 to collect that,” Compton added.

Compton said he’s been hearing stories from adult patrons who were afraid to go back to the library because they had fines. Herrick-Juarez said she’s had good comments too.

“People have been giving us great comments about coming back to the library now that we’re fine free getting more engaged with their library which is a community amenity,” Herrick-Juarez continued. “So, we’re so pleased that early on we’re having such great results.”

Despite the new policy, patrons still have to pay for books that are lost or damaged.

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