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In order to increase circulation in my secondary schools I am trying to convince my leadership to allow us to stop charging library fines. I was wondering if any of you have tried this and have found success. I was also hoping for some of you to share your fine policy with me. Do you have a grace period? Do you have a max fine? 


Thank you for your help!


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I do not charge overdue library fines in my high school library.  If a book becomes overdue, the student's library privileges stop until the book it returned.  I charge to print--10 cents a page.  Of course, if the book is lost it must be paid for.


We do charge fines, but to keep students checking out books we accept partial payments (10 cents minimum).

We do not charge fines at my high school.  If a book is a month overdue students receive a referral for lunch detention.  Usually the books are immediately returned at that point, and the student does not wind up serving detention.

Hi Suzanna:  I too hate the fines but as a district we have to charge them.  However we now have two months a year that students can pay off their fines with food... Food for Fines.... the food collected is given to a local food pantry.  Before fines accrue there is a 10 day grace period and then we delete all fines less than $1.00.  So by the time fines accrue it has been a long time!

We do not fine students, this is an urban hs library and my philosophy is that the books are getting into the students' hands. Granted, they still have a level of responsibility to learn about borrowing privileges, but that comes down on them hardest here when they reach their senior year; they must return the materials by then or pay the replacement cost. In addition, I have the guidance counselor secretary consult me when a student is leaving the district to ascertain that they do not have any materials out.  Overdue notices are given out specifically at the end of the school year (if time permits, I do not have an aid, sometimes printed mid-year); this does help, but often some overdue  books get carried over to the next, whereas, at that point they would not be able to check another out until returned.

My high school is rural, with 65% free or reduced lunches, I do not charge fines for late items. I do for lost or major damage. A fine for late items would defeat everything I am doing to get them into the library and reading. However, I manage their computer accounts so, if a book is a month over due and they have not responded to two notices, I lock their computer account. You would be amazed how many books are returned within a few hours! I'm always friendly about it and unlock their accounts the moment the book is turned in.

I am in a similar situation at an elementary school. These kids are learning to be responsible, no late fees but I do charge for lost or damaged items.


We don't charge fines to students or teachers but we do to parents (private international school so parents use the library a lot). I've never found fines an incentive for students to return books on time. In fact they are more likely to hold onto books for longer because they are scared to face the librarian and pay the fine, even if it's tiny. I'd say it's not worth it. Creates a negative barrier between you and the students. 

Our school used to fine students for late books which affected students' enthusiasm and motivation to check out books. When we changed librarian, our Principal persuaded her to drop the fines, and create something other than fining students. One change is that student can't renew or borrow books if they have not returned them. Students are more motivated to come to the library and check out books without the fear of getting fined. The only thing that students pay if they lost the book or returned them in bad condition.

Did you decide? I am curious because I have issues with students not being  accountable for their actions and if I did not charge fines for damaging materials I would want to have a consequence for their actions.


I do charge fines, but I have been putting a cap on them.  The largest fee a person can be charged for a late book is $5, however, if a book is lost/damaged then the student pays the cost of the book.  I do not have many issues with students paying.  I do allow for students to turn in box tops to offset charges ($.10 per box top) or canned food during canned food drives.  I've toyed with the idea of an amnesty period, but not sure how effective that would be.  I end up collecting quite a bit of fine money in the period right before prom and also right before graduation. 

While some students really complain about this, most don't.  We talked about real-world issues and one of them is meeting deadlines.  Our local public libraries also charge fines for overdue books, so it seems like a way to prepare students for life outside of high school.


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