WESTLAKE, Ohio — Westlake Porter Public Library (WPPL) is going fine-free starting September 3, according to a news release from the library.
Borrowers from the library in Westlake will no longer have to pay fines on overdue material as of September 3, but fines on accounts accrued before that date will remain, library representatives stated. Fines will also remain on SearchOhio and OhioLink materials, which are out of the library’s control.
WPPL joins other local libraries that have recently done away with late fines, including Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, and the Lorain Public Library System.
The decision was made by the library’s management and Board of Trustees after studying the issue for some time, the release states.
“Fines were intended to encourage borrowers to return library material,” said Library Director Andrew Mangels. “Instead they’re a barrier to accessing library materials, and we want to remove that barrier.”
Mangels said that fines often affect loyal library patrons who may not be able to afford fines, or feel embarrassed about using the library when they have unpaid fines.
“The bottom line is that we want to get library materials into the hands of our customers where they can be enjoyed,” said Mangels. “After all, the materials are theirs.”
Fines make up just one half of one percent of the library’s annual income after taking a large dip in 2018 when WPPL introduced automatic renewals.
The library’s policies on unreturned and damaged materials remain in place: library cards will be suspended if materials are not returned within three weeks of the due date, fees for lost or damaged materials are unpaid, or if total fines accrued before Sept. 3 exceed $10. Borrowers will still be billed for replacement of damaged or lost materials, and the time at which the library will send accounts to a retrieval agency will be shortened.