Denham Springs-Walker Branch

The Livingston Parish Library (LPL) recently announced an elimination of overdue library fines and outstanding debt for library patrons of its five branches, continuing a recent trend to increase library access to all patrons.

LIVINGSTON -- If you have an outstanding debt at the Livingston Parish Library, you no longer need to fear going back and being slapped with a bill.

It’s been taken care of.

The Livingston Parish Library (LPL) recently announced an elimination of overdue library fines and outstanding debt for library patrons of its five branches, continuing a recent trend to increase library access to all patrons.

On Sunday, Dec. 1, the library system officially slashed overdue fines on all library-owned items currently in circulation in an attempt to remove barriers to basic library services and resources.

The announcement continues a movement that started in October 2018, when the library system eliminated fines on all teen and youth accounts. With the announcement of the new policy, the LPL becomes one of the first public library systems in Louisiana to eliminate fines for all patrons, joining a growing national trend to abolish fines for overdue materials.

Recent studies show that avoiding overdue fines does not serve as an incentive for returning items in a timely manner. On the contrary — such fines have increasingly been found to become a barrier that prevents patrons from utilizing the services provided by the library, LPL Director Giovanni Tairov said in a press release.

“When patrons borrow items from the library and they become overdue, those who cannot afford the fine would avoid coming back to the Library,” Tairov said.

“More often, they would end up keeping the borrowed items and never return them. When this happens, the library suffers on three levels. The library doesn’t end up collecting the overdue fine, we lose the borrowed item from our collection, plus we lose a community member from visiting the library again.” 

Library systems across the country that have eliminated overdue fines have reported an increase in long-overdue materials being returned and an uptick in library usage.

According to a resolution submitted by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, monetary fines create an economic barrier within the community the library serves. The same resolution states that fines “absorb valuable staff time applying, collecting, and managing dues.” 

“The mission of the LPL is to provide all members of the community with resources to fulfill their informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs in a welcoming environment,” Tairov said. “The existence of overdue fines prevents that mission from being a universal truth for all patrons.

“We hope that the removal of fines will offer a fresh start for all patrons to rediscover the library and the many services we offer.”

Although overdue fines will no longer be assessed on items borrowed from the library, notices will still be sent when the item is nearing its due date. Items on all accounts that are not returned within 45 days of their due date will be considered “lost,” and the full cost of the item will appear on the patron’s account. Patrons can simply return the item to reverse any charges.

The LPL Board of Trustees authorized the policy change at the board meeting on Nov. 25. The new policy also waives overdue fines accumulated on items currently in circulation. Patrons with outstanding items on their account are invited to return borrowed items to any branch of the Library to begin utilizing library resources.

Despite eliminating fines, the LPL still encourages all patrons to return materials in a timely manner. Instead of allowing items to become overdue, patrons can renew them in-person by visiting their nearest branch, via telephone, or online by visiting our website at www.mylpl.info and logging into their account.

For more details on renewing items online, visit www.mylpl.info/how-do-i.

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