Library introduces fine amnesty
Libraries all across Kentucky are making it easier for people to use their local library when coronavirus restrictions are eased and libraries can reopen. The board of trustees of the Boyle County Public Library voted May 14 to join this state-wide initiative by providing a one-time waiver for all patrons of overdue fines and other miscellaneous fees assessed prior to March 16, 2020, when the library closed to protect the health and safety of staff and patrons.
Due to the library’s temporary closure and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, overdue fees will not be assessed until further notice. Items checked out prior to the closure are expected to be returned to the library so that others may use them. The book returns have now re-opened and patrons are encouraged to return the items they have checked out as soon as they are able.
“People have been through so much and we want to make it as easy as possible for all our patrons to use the library again,” says Library Director Georgia de Araujo. “This waiver of fees provides a fresh start. This is especially important for people who are suffering through this pandemic.”
Patrons do not need to come to the library to clear their accounts. Those accounts with fees from overdue materials will automatically be cleared. Patrons with long-overdue materials (i.e. items that were already overdue prior to the library’s closure) will be able to return the items before Dec. 31, 2020 without penalty. (The one-time waiver of fees does not include the replacement costs for library materials that have truly been lost and thus cannot be returned.)
Waiving fines and fees allows people to use all of the library’s services at a time when they need the library the most. “Getting back overdue materials that the library has spent time and money to make available is a benefit to everyone in the community,” says de Araujo.
Libraries are not alone in helping people who have suffered from the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords are waiving rents, unemployment benefits have been extended, small business loans are being granted, and many businesses are providing multiple free services. Everyone is figuring out how to work from home or anticipate the new normal.
“People have lost their jobs and some have lost loved ones. Parents have put their lives on hold to help homeschool their children. Families with tight incomes may have had to give up internet access or put streaming services on hold. This is a tough time for everyone. We know that providing amnesty is the right thing to do to help people where we can,” de Araujo said.
In addition to Boyle County Public Library, dozens of other libraries around the state are also offering “Amnesty for All” to help patrons recover after the stay-at-home coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
“Libraries have proven themselves vital to a healthy community and recovery from crises — the most recent being the economic recession of 2008-09,” says Public Services Librarian Caleb Conover. “Our library is taking steps to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the resources needed to begin the process of returning to normalcy. In conjunction with libraries across the state and the initiatives being taken by other organizations to make services more accessible, the Boyle County Public Library continues to move toward fulfilling our purpose of nurturing lifelong literacy and learning for all ages.”
Anyone with questions about current library services may contact the library Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. via phone at (859) 238-7323, via email at email@example.com, or via Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/boylepublib. Patrons can also reach specific departments through the library’s website by using the dropdown menu available on boylepublib.org/contact-us.
The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 West Broadway in Danville.