The Trustee Corner is a monthly series featuring information of interest to public library boards. Topics include training opportunities, legal issues, helpful information, and relevant news impacting public library governance. The information included in this newsletter is for informational purposes, and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your library’s attorney with any questions about your specific situation.
In this issue:
- What Happens When Libraries Go Fine Free?
- Resources: Going Fine Free
- Pandemic Preparedness
- Better Boards = Better Communities
- Call for Contributions
What Happens When Libraries Go Fine Free?
Many libraries in Colorado have made the decision to eliminate overdue fines in order to remove barriers to access. The Denver Public Library dropped their overdue fines in January 2019, and they cancelled most existing fine balances. A year later, they found that 35% of affected borrowers (those who previously had fines) returned to the library.
Read more about libraries who have made the choice to go fine free in these articles:
- What Happened When Denver Public Library Eliminated Overdue Fines? (5280 Magazine)
- A year after Denver Public Library ended late fees, patrons — and their books — are returning (Denver Post)
- More Libraries are Doing Away with Overdue Fines (New York Times)
- ‘We Wanted Our Patrons Back’ — Public Libraries Scrap Late Fines To Alleviate Inequity (NPR)
Resources: Going Fine Free
Eliminating overdue fines increases access to the library and makes library services more equitable; go fine free and watch your usage, circulation, and even returned items soar! The State Library provides many resources to assist you in the process, including a research-based white paper that lays out the reasons to eliminate fines; infographic templates to help gather data and stories into a compelling visual; webinars on the why and how to go fine free; FAQs; and links to many high quality reports, national media articles, and other useful information.
To see a map of libraries that have gone fine free, go to the End Library Fines website.
As we watch the global outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in the United States, libraries are taking many steps to be prepared in the even that it reaches their community. Pandemic policies, emergency procedures, and providing information resources for panicked patrons are some of the ways that public libraries are playing an important role in emergency preparedness. Library boards may play a critical role in revising and adopting policies to ensure safe operation of the library, while maintaining a central hub for trusted information in the community. There is no state-mandated response for public libraries. Public libraries should follow the guidance of their local policies and procedures, follow the direction of your local governing authorities, and also work with local health departments.
Here are some resources to be aware of when it comes to pandemic preparedness, especially with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Pandemic Preparedness (American Library Association)
- Resources for Libraries on Coronavirus (EveryLibrary)
- Coronavirus: Library and Business Operations Planning (National Library of Medicine)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- COVID-19: Resources and Privacy Considerations (LDH Consulting Services)
Better Boards = Better Communities
What drives your passion for serving on a library board? A free one-day workshop for trustees is being offered by the Colorado Library Consortium at the CLiC Spring Workshop in Pueblo on Monday, 4/27. Content includes Financial 101, Advocacy, Strategic Planning and LOTS of time for networking. The workshop is free and includes lunch.
Bonus Day: if you attend the workshop you can also attend the second day of the Spring Workshop for $25, half off the regular cost.
Call for Contributions
Does your library have trustee news to share? Would you like to share an update in the Trustee Corner? Do you have a topic you would like to see featured? Email Crystal Schimpf with your ideas.