CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County Library has announced that they are clearing late fines from their patron records, no questions asked.
“You are now fabulously fine free,” a written statement from NCL said Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Library “fine free” means that patrons will not be fined daily for overdue materials; however the Library says they will continue to recoup expenses related to lost or damaged items.
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“Of course, going fine free doesn’t mean that you don’t have to bring your books back to the library,” NCL officials said. “Items will still have a due date, and materials will be automatically renewed up two times if there are no holds. The library will continue to send out notices to remind patrons to bring their items back, and if an item is not returned or is returned damaged patron will be asked to pay for the items.”
Natrona County Library points out that they are not the first public library in Wyoming to go fine-free. Other Wyoming public libraries like those in Converse, Johnson, Lincoln, Niobrara, Sublette, and Sweetwater Counties already have similar policies.
In addition, public libraries in Chicago, Denver, and Seattle have all gone fine free.
“We are eliminating a barrier that often prevents community members from accessing our services,” says Natrona County Library Assistant Director Kate Mutch. “Overdue fines are now a thing of the past at Natrona County Library!”
“While fines were originally intended to encourage patrons to return materials, studies over the past several years show they had become a barrier to access for many people,” said Library Director Lisa Scroggins. “People should not avoid their public library because they owe (or want to avoid owing) a fine.”