Library Turns New Page: No More Fees

Kateri Town • The Spectator

Library books may be available without the threat of late fees in the near future.

If it’s overdue, no need to book it to the library.

Any student using the Lemieux Library materials will be happy to know that the library is reviewing their loan policy. Say hello to longer loan periods and removal of overdue fines on Lemieux materials.

When the Lemieux Library first opened, library departments reorganized and reviewed past policies and procedures.

The university library had decades of loan rules and new technology developments that had not been reviewed. One topic that came up frequently was the impact of overdue fines on library patrons.

“Especially being part of a large consortium, there is a lot of access to material where there wasn’t before, and overdue fines were a way in the past of ensuring access so other people could then use them,” said circulation manager Brian Carey. “When you are part of a large consortium, you basically have 36 other libraries that you can pull from.”

As part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, Lemieux library shares material with other libraries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Judy Solberg, Director of Public Services Coordinator and Learning Commons Partnership, said that concerns for undergraduates inspired a reexamination of fees.

“A lot of the changes to the fines are going to affect undergraduates. We are going to extend the amount of time an undergraduate can have a book from three weeks to six weeks, which is the Summit loan policy,” said Solberg.

Students will also be able to renew books online after they are overdue. Overdue and late fees will be removed from books and media materials, but only ones belonging to the
Lemieux Library.
“Fines won’t go off of Summit materials. We are part of the consortium and Summit makes their own policies,” Solberg said. “Those items don’t belong to us. They belong to some other library and we have a good faith agreement with other libraries that we will return it to them.”

Also with reserves, there is a limited material that multiple students could need access to, and therefore the library reserves will not be exempt from the removal of overdue fines.

“As we moved up the organization it was easier for circulation, and then for Judy, to embrace these changes. It was a little harder for me and a little harder for the provost to say ‘Are we sure we’re going to get our stuff back if we don’t have the threat of a fine?’” said John Popko, University Librarian.

Students will be able to check out a book from the library for six weeks or a DVD for six days rather than only three. The circulation desk will send out an email with a reminder to return the book three days before the due date. One day after an item is due there will be an overdue notice via email and a link to renew the book if it is needed longer.

There will be a total of four messages sent to the patron over a two week period if the book is not returned. If by 15 days after the due date the material is not returned or renewed, there will be a replacement bill sent to the student.

“With the replacement bill, you can still return or renew the book and it goes away. It’s not a late fine, it is just that after 15 days we think the book might be lost.” Solberg said. “The person would need to contact the circulation desk by calling us, email or come in person with the book because once it has gone into bill status it can’t be renewed due to technicality. We can check it back in and start up a new check out renewal process.”

The Provost has asked that this be a pilot of the policy. After a year and a half there will be a review of the statistics. If this policy results in “free for all abuse, the library will reconsider the removal of overdue fees,” Carey said.

“We are trying to balance the different needs of our different constituents and we are trying to simplify and make things easier for us to manage and our patrons to understand,”
Popko said.

Veronica may be reached at vmazzolini@su-spectator.com

Veronica Mazzolini

Veronica Mazzolini is a senior English Lit major and French Minor. She has been working at The Spectator for two years. Veronica enjoys reading, and is afraid of gnomes.


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