Kaukauna Public Library is first in the Fox Cities to go fine-free

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A new plan to bolster library use is now in effect–eliminating late fees.
The Kaukauna Public Library is hoping to set a new trend in the Fox Cities.

“We know that when people have fines on their account, they stop coming back to our building,” said Ashley Thiem-Menning, the library’s director.

Like many things, library late-fees stick with you forever. The family card’s debt balance was a source of a good deal of awkward interactions.

“It’s hard to tell someone that just turned 18, ‘Oh, there’s a hundred dollars in fines on your library card,'” she said. “So, that’s one of the reasons why we decided to go fine-free.”

Kaukauna is the first in the Fox Cities to go completely fine-free.

And for any checkouts lasting longer than 30 days, what that means is that if you don’t bring it back, you pretty much buy it. You’ll have a bill for the book floating on your account, and until you bring the book back, it will just be sitting there.

“As soon as you bring it back, the slate is wiped clean,” she said. “You have full account access again and this time, you won’t have any residual fees left on your library card.”

This means the Kaukauna library will absolve $6,000 in fine revenue from 2019, and $7,500 from 2018.

“The goal is not to keep the materials in the libray, it’s that we want the community to be checking them out and enjoying them,” said Thiem-Menning.

She expects every library in the state to be fine-free within the next few years.

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