Thursday August 27, 2020

Cabarrus Library wants YOU back—not your overdue fines

The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners recently approved policy changes that improve access to Cabarrus County Public Library System materials. The changes include:

  • Eliminating overdue fines
  • Updating the non-resident policy (patrons who live outside Cabarrus and Rowan counties) to provide library cards at no cost for educators and students at any public or private school—at any academic level—in Cabarrus County. The non-resident fee for those who do not meet the education criteria was increased to $25 per year.

While overdue fines are eliminated, the library’s policy does hold patrons responsible for overdue materials. If materials are not returned 14 days past the due date, the library will suspend account activity. After 60 days, the library will declare overdue materials lost and charge the patron for the replacement. If a patron is able to return lost materials in usable condition, the Library will waive or refund the replacement charge.

Public libraries across the nation have analyzed the effects of late fees and found they disproportionately affect disadvantaged patrons.

In 2019, The American Library Association passed a resolution acknowledging these consequences and called on libraries nationwide to eliminate overdue fines.

“While they are meant to be an incentive to bring books back on time, overdue fines usually wind up discouraging people from using library services,” said Library Director Emery Ortiz. “We want to serve everyone and eliminate barriers that get in the way of the benefits. The policy updates will put books in hands, support mental wellbeing, and promote lifelong learning and enrichment. Those all make for a better community.”

As officials work to transition their systems, fines may still appear on records, but will not affect account activity.

For more information about library accounts, email library@cabarruscounty.us or call 704-920-2050.

To learn more about library programs and services, visit the Library System’s Facebook and Instagram pages, @CabarrusCountyLibrary, and website, www.cabarruscounty.us/library.

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