We’re Fine Free!
In July, the San Rafael City Council approved the elimination of daily fines for adult patrons, and the elimination of the $1 library card replacement fee. The library had already removed daily fines for children’s and youth materials in 2015. These changes to fines and fees will eliminate barriers and improve equity of access for all San Rafael residents. Additionally, the national trend of eliminating overdue fines has been found to not adversely affect the return of Library materials, but instead to increase the use of the Library and its resources.
Eliminating daily fines will align our practices with many libraries in the greater Bay Area and, most importantly, with the largest library in our consortium, Marin County Free Library (MCFL). A large percentage of San Rafael residents use the Marin County Free Library’s many locations as well as San Rafael Libraries. Being consistent with MCFL policy in this area will reduce confusion in communicating to patrons about this issue. Only San Anselmo and Mill Valley libraries still charge daily fines, so San Rafael users who request books from those locations could incur daily fines if their books are overdue. In addition, patrons will still be required to pay for damaged or lost materials, but the elimination of daily fines will hopefully remove a psychological and economic barrier to access that has previously prevented patrons from fully using all the library resources.