Library eliminates late fees in pursuit of fostering community equity

MALINI ADKINS, Staff Writer—The Denison Library is striving to make themselves more accessible and convenient for the Denison students. In order to make their space more friendly and available, The Library has officially waived overdue fees. Circulation Supervisor of the Denison University Library, Pam Magelaner, confirmed this news.

“We are striving to make the library as user-friendly as we can,” Magelaner said.

“The library decided to go fine-free to help with campus initiatives of equity and affordability.”

Fees can create an additional barrier for low income students. According to student accounts, in the 2018-2019 school year all library fines accrued to be $18,730.35 charged to student’s accounts with $12,313.91 still owed.

In 2017, the Columbus Metropolitan Library eliminated late fees. This follows concerns from some libraries that fees erode a trusting, community relationship between a library and its patrons.

As of this past summer, the Denison University Library no longer assesses overdue fines on most of their items. The items that still have overdue fines assessed are MTS equipment (Chromebooks, cameras, audio recorders, etc.), items that have been recalled, and items that are on course reserve—these three types of items are not subject to automatic renewals.

“If the item is not returned after all of its available renewals, then a replacement bill will be assessed and the patron is blocked until the item is returned,” Magelaner explained. “When the item is returned, the bill is removed.”

More and more library professionals contend that charging overdue fines undermines the mission of libraries to provide free and equitable access to information so that all citizens may educate themselves. In the case of the Denison Library, waiving the library fees allows them to hopefully foster a more inclusive community for everyone.

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