(Orion Township Public Library, Sept. 11, 2022)
Orion Township, MI – Effective September 6, 2022, Orion Township Public Library (OTPL) joins other Oakland County libraries and those across the state and nation which have gone fine-free. Since that day, OTPL patrons are no longer be charged late fines on most overdue items and all overdue fees not related to lost or damaged materials will be removed.
Of the 392 facilities that participated in the 2022 Michigan Public Libraries Annual Report, 44.1% reported being fine-free, a nearly threefold increase between 2020 and 2022.
“Our mission is to attract and serve a thriving community of lifelong learners” said OTPL Library Director Chase McMunn. “To fully engage with the community, we need to remove barriers to access – and late fees are barriers. Fines tend to impact lower income patrons and families with children, two groups at the center of library services and programs. Lake Orion thrives when everyone has access to the materials they need. Outstanding fines often mean that a patron not only stops using the library, they fail to return the overdue materials.”
Roughly 6,000 of the 23,383 registered OTPL cardholders are blocked currently for nonpayment of fines. The return of those patrons would benefit both the community and OTPL. Those previously absent due to owning fines would be motivated to return overdue materials, getting these items back on the shelves for use.
The library’s spending budget could be directed at purchasing new materials rather than replacing missing items. Although it might seem counter intuitive, fiscal responsibility is at the heart of the fine-free decision.
“Revenue from fines has fallen progressively in the last five years, representing less than one percent of the OTPL operating budget,” said McMunn. “To see patrons and materials return with the removal of fines is a win-win for everyone.”
Once general late fees are eliminated, patrons will still be responsible for returning items on time and paying for lost and damaged materials. Rather than assessing late fees, automatic renewals will occur on eligible items and gentle reminders will be sent for those overdue. Patrons will be billed for damaged items and those overdue by 30 days. Materials obtained through interlibrary loan will still be subject to fines.
The removal of late fees will allow library staff to focus on library services rather than debt collection.
“With our wide range of programs and materials, staff time is better spent engaging with patrons about our offerings and their needs rather than collecting fees,” said McMunn.
For more information about the fine-free decision, please contact Chene Koppitz, OTPL Community Relations Specialist, via email at email@example.com or by phone at 248.693.3000 x434.
ABOUT THE ORION TOWNSHIP PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open Monday through Thursday 9:30 AM-9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 9:30 AM-5:00 pm. Sunday hours, which begin after Labor Day, are 1:00 PM-5:00 PM. Visit orionlibrary.org or call 248.693.3000 for more information.