Whitewright Public Library takes action to eliminate fines
Whitewright, Texas — The Whitewright Public Library has strived to serve the needs of the community since its founding in 1967. Changing collections over the decades have seen books on tape and movies on VHS replaced by CDs , DVDs and digital formats. Public computers were added in the 90s and are now complemented by free public wifi.
Library policies have also changed over the years, the most recent being the addition of automatic renewals, which has reduced outstanding fines for many users. We are now taking the next step and completely eliminating fines as of February 1. This includes reversal of past fines. Now you can enjoy the same great library, minus the fines!
Although fines will disappear, not all fees will disappear. We will still charge for lost or damaged materials, interlibrary loans, and other services (such as copies and faxes).
Users will still need to return items if they cannot be renewed due to a waiting list or at the end of the 6 week payment period. Overdue items will lock their account against further payments, auto-renewals and digital resources. Essentially, if you don’t return items, your account and all connected accounts will be locked out and unable to access the library until they are cleared. It will also block access to the digital library and online databases.
Users have the option to receive notifications about renewals, delays and reservations via SMS or email to avoid delays. Those who have not selected the automatic notification option will still receive letters and phone calls regarding delays only. Library staff strongly recommends subscribing to the automatic notification service.
Items that are seriously overdue may be pursued through the police department as this is considered theft of City property. We don’t want to take that step, we just want our materials back, so we hope our free policy will encourage people to return them to share with their community.
We’ve seen many users over the years tell staff they’re worried about “a $100 fine” for returning an item late, so they just don’t return it. Fines have always been capped per item, but the idea of having a massive fine has kept many people from returning to the library. This also means that items that are not returned may or may not be replaced by our limited funds.
Fines have accounted for less than 1% of our revenue, and we would much rather people use library materials and services than spend time trying to collect fines. However, we will always focus on returning hardware.
If you have any questions regarding your library account, please ask library staff at the office for assistance, call 903-364-2955, or email [email protected].