The Kewaunee Public Library and Algoma Public Library are happy to announce that, effective June 1, 2021, overdue fines will not accrue on children and teen print materials – no matter what the age of the person checking out the materials. The libraries are excited to be following the practice of many libraries around the country and removing this potential barrier to library services.
This is their way of removing any reading barrier that they can to help increase childhood literacy and improve library access for the youth of Kewaunee County. Fines can potentially be an obstacle that disproportionately impact people without the means to pay.
Removing these fines (while still requiring the items to be returned) will allow more people to enjoy their materials for education, enrichment, and inspiration. Patrons will continue to be charged for lost or damaged items. The libraries still encourage that patrons bring back those children and teen print materials on time to make materials available to others who would like to borrow them.
In 2019, the American Library Association passed a resolution citing mounting evidence that eliminating fines increases library card sign ups and library use. This resolution also recognized fines as a form of “social inequity” and urged libraries to actively “move toward eliminating them”. Libraries throughout the country are going fine free and the response has been a high return of materials and high return of library users. We have seen that libraries who have adopted fine free policies are seeing the same rate on return of items.
The libraries are committed to increasing reading and literacies, and combating the “summer slump” that causes students to lose skills between grades. Both libraries have a comprehensive Summer Reading Program planned to encourage use of the library and reward children for reading. Overall, summer reading programs really do improve kids’ reading skills and increase their desire to read. Additionally, according to the School Library Journal, those who participate not only mitigate any summer learning loss, but they even show gains.
For more information on the libraries, their Summer Reading Programs, and all of their services, please visit their websites at https://www.algomapubliclibrary.org and https://www.kewauneepubliclibrary.org.
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