BILLINGS – In March 2020, Billings Public Library experimented with the temporary waiver of late fees. Now they have made this movement permanent.
“We feel like the fines punish people who join the system, and we especially wanted to make sure that teens and frequent travelers to the library continue to have this access. So it’s definitely about making sure that people come to the library more, it’s about honoring the people who bring their materials back, and I think that will be really good for the library, ”the library said. Assistant Director Hannah Stewart-Freeman.
In recent years, public libraries in a growing number of major cities across the country, such as New York, San Francisco, and Denver, have eliminated late fees. Most say they are seeing a huge increase in the number of people returning late books and the Billings Public Library was no exception.
“We saw people bringing their things back and that made us think. We thought well, it really works. It doesn’t impact our budget enough to make it a priority for us, so we thought to see how it goes. So for about a year and a half, during this Covid Umbrella, we did a test and it worked really well. People brought their things back and were delighted and very grateful, ”said Stewart-Freeman.
Stanley Eagle Jr. attends the Billings Public Library and is happy they have waived the late fees.
“I think it’s good. I’ve had late fees before,” Eagle said. “It’s cool, I mean I like it, it’ll draw more people, I mean what can you say else; people love this place.
To collect a book, you must always have a library card, which requires you to present photo ID. The library will always charge for lost, unreturned and damaged books. Late fees will also still be applied to electronic items that the Billings Public Library checks.