Contact: Mary Danko, Library Director
[email protected] (802) 865.7214
(Burlington, VT) – The Fletcher Free Library has removed fines from books, video and audio recordings in its efforts to serve the community equitably and to provide free access for all to materials and information.
“Ever since the Fletcher Free Library conducted a pilot program for fine forgiveness in 2018, I’ve been excited about the promise of eliminating late fines to increase access to the library for every Burlington resident,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We know that late fees are not a substantial percentage of the library’s budget, but can be a significant deterrent to using the library’s services. With this change, we’re ensuring that no Burlington resident will have to worry about cost when they access the resources, education, and opportunity that can be found at the library.”
“Here at the library, we know most folks want to bring their items back on time but sometimes things get in the way,” explained Library Director Mary Danko. “Library fines are a barrier to borrowing materials and accessing library services. It is exciting to be able to remove this barrier so that no one feels inhibited to use the library, especially now during these challenging times.”
Danko noted that libraries throughout the country are going fine free and the response has been a high return of materials and high return of library users. Staff at the Fletcher Free Library are excited to see how the community responds to this change. The library will wipe out previously accrued fines and welcome back patrons who have not returned to the library because of their overdue fines.
The library felt it was important to create an environment that feels welcoming rather than punitive. There will continue to be overdue charges for higher valued items in the Library of Non-traditional Things, such as binoculars and snowshoes, and Inter Library Loan materials. All other materials will be fine free. Patrons will still be charged for lost and damaged items. The library still encourages bringing back items on time to make materials available to others in the community who would like to borrow them.