We all want to get books into the hands of children. We’re librarians, we don’t want to deny children access to materials – no way! But sometimes there are those sneaky overdue fines that build up and build up and then, all of a sudden, a kid doesn’t have access to library materials. That is scary stuff for a kid and will prevent many children from using the library. Earlier this year, we decided to tackle this problem. We considered an amnesty day, a read away your fines program and many other options, but decided in the end to make it easy, ongoing and to do something that would create a positive library experience.
In July we launched the “Find a Book to Remove Your Fees” program which is all about relationship building. The concept is simple: Kids up to age 17 who visit with a librarian for a personalized book recommendation are eligible to have overdue fees removed from their library cards.*
In just four months this program has removed barriers for 75 kids! That is 75 more kids taking home books – SEVENTY-FIVE!! That means 75 positive interactions between staff and kids, 75 readers’ advisory interviews, 75 (at least) books checked out and (hopefully) 75 books enjoyed. That is good stuff.
*The fine print (if you are curious): Charges for lost materials, Quick Picks (adult 7 day books), Quick Flicks (adult 2 day movies) and collection referral are not removed.