Urbandale Public Library/Fine-Free Children's Materials

Say Goodbye to Children’s Materials Fines!

For the entire year of 2022, the Urbandale Public Library will not charge overdue fines on any children’s items.

The policy was passed unanimously by the Urbandale Library Board of Trustees in November 2021. The policy will be in effect on a trial basis until December 31, 2022. Throughout 2022, the Board will be reviewing the results of the policy change to determine if it should continue.

Fine-Free Children’s Materials Facts

  • The policy applies to children’s items only. Teen and adult items will continue to accrue overdue fines.
  • All children’s items will still have due dates and items that are five weeks overdue will be charged as lost.
  • Lost and damaged children’s items will still be charged to accounts.
  • Fine Free children’s items include:
    • Board Books (BB)
    • Easy Readers (ER)
    • Juvenile Adventure Backpacks (J ADV PACK)
    • Juvenile Audiobooks (JCD)
    • Juvenile Biographies (JB)
    • Juvenile Books with CD (J BOOK)
    • Juvenile DVDs and Blu-Rays (JDVD and JBLU/DVD)
    • Juvenile Fiction (JF)
    • Juvenile Graphic Novels (JGN)
    • Juvenile Magazines (MGJ)
    • Juvenile Music (J MUSIC)
    • Juvenile Non-Fiction (J000 ABC)
    • Juvenile Playaways and Launchpads (J PLAYAWAY and J LAUNCHPD)
    • Picture Books (E)
    • Puppets (P)
    • STEM Kits (J KIT and J STEAM KIT)
    • Wonderbooks (JWB)

FAQs

What fines/fees are being affected? 

  • The policy eliminates overdue fines only on children’s items. Lost and damaged fees will continue to be assessed. 

What items are affected by this policy? 

  • All children’s items no longer have overdue fines (such as picture books, chapter books, children’s DVDs, children’s music, children’s audiobooks, etc.). 
  • We will continue to charge overdue fines on our teen and adult items. 

How long will this policy last? 

  • The policy has been enacted on a trial basis from January 1st, 2022 to December 31st, 2022. The library board will be reviewing the results of the policy change and will decide if the policy should continue. 

Will previous fines and fees be forgiven? 

  • Previous overdue fines for children’s items remain at this time. Please contact a staff member to discuss this further. 

Isn’t the library worried that people won’t return their books? 

  • The Urbandale Library will continue to expect patrons to return items. If an item is not returned, the library will ultimately declare the item “lost” and charge the patron the replacement cost for the item. If the patron does not pay for the item, the library will refer the patron’s account to our debt collection agency. 

What are the reasons for eliminating overdue fines/fees?

  • Libraries are eliminating overdue fines to remove financial barriers for people to access library materials, especially low-income households and children. Studies have shown that eliminating overdue fines can lead to an increase in library registrations, more checkouts of materials, and an increase in returned materials. In 2019, the American Library Association passed a resolution encouraging libraries to remove overdue fines.

Have other libraries eliminated overdue fees?

  • As of 2022, hundreds of public libraries across the United States have removed overdue fines (either on children’s items or all items). The Urban Libraries Council has created an interactive map of libraries that are completely or partially fine-free.

I like to consider paying overdue fees as a donation for library operations. How can I continue to support the library?

  • Absolutely! Donations can be made to the Urbandale Public Library Foundation. The Foundation supports library events and services throughout the year. You can learn more about donating on our Foundation webpage.