The Carmel Clay Public Library will no longer charge fines for overdue items and is erasing existing overdue fines from all accounts.
The change comes as the library prepares to relocate from its temporary home in Merchants’ Square to its renovated building at 425 E. Main St.
“As we prepare to open a wonderful new and expanded version of the library in the fall, we want to make sure that everyone in our community feels welcome and comfortable visiting and using the library and all of its many resources,” CCPL Director Bob Swanay stated.
Items checked out from the library will still have due dates. Any item not returned within 45 days of its due date will be considered lost, and CCPL will charge a replacement fee.
CCPL also increased the maximum number of times an item may be renewed from three to five. Renewals are not permitted when the item has been put on hold by another patron.
Many libraries throughout the nation, including the Hamilton East Public Library in Fishers and Noblesville, have eliminated overdue fines in recent years. The American Library Association approved a resolution in 2019 calling overdue fines a “form of social inequity” and encouraging libraries to eliminate them.
Research has shown that overdue fines can become a significant barrier to library use and that eliminating them can lead to a better rate of return.
Eliminating overdue fines are estimated to reduce library revenue by less than 1 percent, according to CCPL Communications Manager Christy Walker. CCPL has effectively not imposed overdue fines since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, and it has not negatively impacted the budget in that time, Walker said.
“While the overdue fine revenue stream is gone, a new revenue stream will begin in 2023 when the library begins to allow the use of meeting rooms at the main library by businesses and nonprofit organizations,” Walker said. “There will be a charge for for-profit businesses to use these meeting spaces.”
CCPL will operate at Merchants’ Square through July 31, with service at the renovated building expected to begin in mid-September. From Aug. 1 until the renovated building opens, patrons are encouraged to visit the Joyce Winner West Branch at 12770 Horseferry Rd., which will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
Learn more at carmelclaylibrary.org/fine-free.