We re-engaged more than 1,700 Oak Park Public Library cardholders since eliminating fines for overdue materials.
As of June 1, late fines were a thing of the past. Why? “Policies should define how the library wants to interact with the community, said Executive Director David J. Seleb. “And this policy change is focused on access and equity. Overdue fines are a regressive method of raising revenue; they hurt the most those who can afford them the least, create stress-filled interactions, and require significant amounts of staff time to manage.” Read more about these changes to improve use, access, and equity around library resources >
“Fine free has proven to be a popular policy change with all patrons. Months later, it continues to be heartwarming to hear from those who were least able to manage under our previous policy that this is working out so much better for them. It’s also great to welcome people back, patrons who had stopped using the library who now feel able to come in again and borrow materials. To this day, people will stop and tell us how proud they are to live in a village where the library embraces progressive, inclusive policy decisions.” —Manager of Branch and Access Services Martyn Churchouse
Do you have an experience to share related to the removal of overdue fines? Tell us now >
We actively listened to hundreds of patrons, peers, and partners, learning more about shared aspirations and emerging concerns.
What kind of community do you want to live in? We keep asking you this question because your aspirations drive our work. The hundreds of people who responded in 2017 told us they continue to value literacy and education; diversity, inclusion, and equity; and health, safety, and affordability. But they also revealed an increased anxiety, as well as a desire to act with greater speed and a determination to make greater progress.
People commented on an increasing concern around the rising cost of living, rising taxes, threats to safety and property and a lack of awareness—about what is happening in and around the community—and a perceived lack of people actively working together to achieve progress. Barriers mentioned included a coarsening of culture and a lack of empathy.
Frequently, people talked about the gap they saw between perception and reality around inclusion and equity. There also was a measure of discouragement about the ways government leaders and stakeholders worked with and communicated with the community.
We welcomed more than 100 new community organizations after opening up the library’s meeting space policy.
More free spaces to connect and to learn using public resources. Meeting room renters had long shared with us the fact that fees for space rentals limited, and even prohibited, their library use. So we responded. In late April, the Board of Library Trustees updated policy to eliminate costs for not-for-profit organizations and to allow anyone with any public library card to reserve a public library meeting space.
Said Oak Parker Francine O’Conner: “Regarding the fee removal for nonprofits? We are very glad for it. Veterans for Unification is a local group with a very small bank account. We are also composed of generally older members, so the elevators and indoor parking are definitely a plus for us.”
Do you want to learn more about reserving a free, public meeting space at your library? Let’s get started >