Youngsters will no longer have to pay the price for overdue books at the Beverly Hills Public Library thanks to a recent decision to eliminate fines on materials checked out by youth under 18 years old.
“We have found that overdue fines prevent young patrons from checking out books and other materials and we are here to encourage people to use library services, not obstruct them from doing so,” said Library Administrator Karen Buth. “We want our materials to be returned on time but understand that children are not able to come to the library without their caregivers, and we hope this new policy provides the flexibility they need.”
After looking at the numbers, library staff found that overdue fines comprised less than one percent of the library’s operating budget and in fact cost more in staff time to collect than what was received.
In addition to actually costing the library money, Buth said that overdue fines seemed to prevent children from checking out books and other materials from the library.
In tandem with the new policy, the library also cleared all current youth accounts, eliminating any existing fines so that all youngsters now have a clean slate.
While fines are eliminated, fees for books not returned after 30 days will continue to be assessed as lost and billed accordingly. Patrons will then have 30 more days to pay the bill or return their books.
“While we don’t want late fees to deter people from using our services, we value our collection and will continue to charge for lost books so they can be replaced and to ensure our collection remains complete,” Buth said.
Among the newest additions to the library’s collection are 160,000 materials of TV and radio broadcast history once housed by the Paley Center for Media, which recently closed its Beverly Hills location.
The library also instituted another new policy of not charging patrons to place a reserve on books or other materials. Patrons are allowed up to 10 reserves or requests per account and once the item is reserved, it is held for seven business days.
For more information about the new policy, visit www.beverlyhills.org/library-fines or call 310-288-2222.