During these difficult times, the Cannon Falls Library and Library Board are finding ways to make the library more accessible and equitable to all members of the community. Under normal circumstances many people depend on the library to provide essential services such as access to internet, information, and resources. During this pandemic all of these services have become critical. As a result, the Cannon Falls Library Board voted to officially go fine free and eliminated all fines owed to the Cannon Falls Library that are older than one year.
“We understand that life happens,” states Cannon Falls Library Director Nicole Miller. “We also recognize that assessing overdue fines is not fair to patrons with limited incomes or to those who have lost their jobs. This is our way to let people know that we care and that we’re here to help you.”
The Cannon Falls Library is committed to providing equal access to every member of the community and eliminating overdue fines offers cardholders a fresh start to rediscover all that their library has to offer. By eliminating most fines, the library is removing barriers and making access easy, equitable, and enjoyable for everyone.
More and more libraries across the country have adopted fine-free policies in recent years based on research indicating that patrons return more items and return them sooner than when late fees were assessed. Libraries that have adopted these policies have also reported higher library use as formerly disenfranchised patrons resumed good standing status.
Says Miller, “I’m sure people are wondering ‘What does fine free mean?’ From now on, all materials owned by the Cannon Falls Library no longer accrue overdue fees. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to return or renew the materials! It just means you aren’t penalized if you return materials late. All lost and damaged materials still have fees, as well as overdue fines owed to other libraries in the SELCO region. So make sure to renew and return those library materials!”
If you have an idea for something more the library might do to meet an essential need, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-263-2804.