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Long Overdue… No More Late Fees

What motivates you more…

The risk of having a late fee on your account


Knowing that someone has requested and is waiting to read the book that you have checked out, but haven’t opened in a few weeks.

I’m actually curious, I’d love to know…

Because we just decided to remove late fees from our model – and so I’m betting heavily on the idea that punishment is actually the wrong strategy for motivating patrons to return books on time.

And by no means am I claiming this idea… the numbers are in.

There have been a few libraries in the news lately who’ve decided to eliminate late fees altogether.

And when I was thinking about it… I realized it’s just not worth our time, focus, energy, etc… to pursue a few dollars here and there in late fees… we’d rather focus our energy on making the library itself more amazing.

WRFI Community Radio news ran a story recently that reminded me of this issue… and that TCPL, and some other libraries in the area were removing late fees from their system. It was just the nudge we needed.

I can’t believe we haven’t done this sooner.

In fact, we get more income from random contributions than late fees each year…. even though dozens of patrons are charged late fees each month (all in tiny amounts).

It’s so insignificant to us… yet such a hassle and creates a feeling of regret and shame that we don’t need associated with our library.

So as of today, we’ve officially waived late fees from the Durland Alternatives Library – including any outstanding fines you may have.


If you check out a bunch of books and don’t talk to us ever again… and don’t return them to one of the 34 libraries in the system… well then we would consider it “lost by patron” and expect that you replace the item, or charge your account.

We can agree, this is reasonable, yes?


Here’s the announcement from TCPL that inspired it, if you’re interested.…

and an article from Slate magazine on the topic : Long Overdue……

P.S.. Stop by sometime… I think you’ll like what we’re doing with the place 🙂

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Ryan Clover-Owens

I'm on a mission to prove that we can live in a society that reconciles with our history, respects difference, cherishes the land and animals, and can create solutions to the challenges we face.