As of March 1, the Great Bend Public Library no longer charges fines or late fees for overdue materials. The GBPL Board approved the practice earlier this year, but approved it again Monday after Library Director Harry Willems provided a written policy.
“All past fines will be forgiven,” according to a policy letter from Willems and department heads. “ A donation container will be placed strategically to accommodate any patron feeling guilty.”
Patrons will still receive overdue notices, and they will still have to pay for items that are damaged or lost. Replacement fees are equal to the cost of the item plus processing.
Patrons may also lose checkout privileges if an overdue item has not been returned within 45 days or if they have more than five overdue items.
GBPL will send two notices for an overdue item. The first notice will be sent on the due date. The second notice will be sent 30 days after the due date and will allow 15 more days for items to be returned before checkout privileges are suspended.
The checkout limit on books and periodicals will remain the same, 25 items. There is also a limited of four DVDs.
Renewal rules for all items remain the same. There are no renewals for DVDs, and all other items have one renewal.
“ The goal of the new policy is to retrieve more materials without causing undue negative interactions with patrons,” Willems said. “GBPL strives to be a welcoming resource to our patrons and believes that punitive fines block our efforts by causing our patrons/customers to avoid the library. We also know that we make mistakes and that our ILS (Integrated Library System) circulation system does not always produce the information that we need to be accurate 100 percent of the time.