WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The New Hanover County Public Library made two announcements on Friday, announcing the elimination of late fees on children materials, as well as an extension of its hours of operation.
As of July 1, the New Hanover County Public Library is not charging people for overdue children’s materials checked out from the library. In addition, all existing overdue fines on children’s materials will be forgiven and no more will follow.
This change was adopted by the Board of Commissioners as part of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, and hopes to increase access to library resources and address equity issues.
“Eliminating overdue fees is steadily becoming more common in public libraries because research shows that overdue fines disproportionately impact the most vulnerable library users, and that families unable to pay down fines are likely to discontinue using library services,” said Library Director Paige Owens. “Excessive overdue fines lead to blocked cards and can result in caregivers ending children’s access to the library.”
The library has already implemented other policies to reduce the impact of overdue fines on borrowers, including automatic renewals (as long as the item has not been reserved), and reminders via email and text messages about materials being due.
Under this new policy, borrowers will continue to receive overdue notices reminding them to return late materials, but no fines will be charged for children’s items returned late. However, library users will still be required to pay to replace lost or damaged items.
Library Hours Extended
Beginning Monday, August 2, all New Hanover County Public Library locations will begin new operating hours:
- Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
“We will be extending our hours and opening on Sunday afternoons, which is something we haven’t been able to do since the start of the pandemic,” said Owens. “We know many of our patrons are excited and ready for these new hours, and we are too.”
The library will continue to accept book donations by appointment only, based on space limitations.
New Hanover County Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines for children’s materials! In addition, existing overdue fines on children’s materials will be forgiven. This change was adopted by the Board of Commissioners as part of the Fiscal Year… https://t.co/h7TLaHGfmp pic.twitter.com/lTkWL6cO4L
— New Hanover County Public Library (@NHCLibrary) July 9, 2021
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