Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Long Overdue: Why public libraries are finally eliminating the late-return fine.; Slate, 2/6/17
Ruth Graham, Slate;
"Free public libraries are so interwoven into American life that it can be hard to appreciate their radical premise: Anyone in town can take home any book, for free. Overdue fines have always operated as a hedge on that communal trust, the nagging little stick that comes with the big, beautiful carrot. Fines imply that a library’s mission is not only to encourage reading but to perform a kind of moral instruction. But does it make sense for libraries to perform both of those jobs? “We’ve had 150 years to try to teach customers timeliness or responsibility, and I don’t know that that’s our greatest success story,” said Losinski, a few days after his library system abandoned late fees. Reid put it more simply when she explained the message she wanted residents of High Plains to take away: “We trust you.”"