FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Public Library started a program to help eliminate barriers to those wanting to use its services. The library’s Fine Forgiveness Program helps with that.

Stephanny Smith with the library stopped by Studio 15 to explain further.

Here is the release from the Allen County Public Library about the program:

The Allen County Public Library is hoping to recover overdue materials while also reducing barriers to using the library’s resources.

Beginning Wednesday, August 19, library cardholders who return overdue materials will have all associated fines and fees removed from their library accounts.  This applies even in those instances in which the items are damaged or missing pieces. 

“Our hope is that a lot of people spent the past several months ‘hunkered down’ cleaning out closets, basements, and under beds.  Our guess is that more than a few stumbled across library materials they thought had been lost or returned.  This is their chance to bring back those items and have fees removed from their library accounts,” said Stephanny Smith, Director of Community Engagement.

For those borrowers with long overdue materials, items are considered lost.  Those borrowers are charged the replacement fee and a $5.00 processing fee for each item lost, damaged or returned incomplete.

Current library policy states that individuals whose fines exceed $15.00 will not be able to borrow physical materials.  One objective of the fine forgiveness event is that by returning overdue materials, many cardholders’ account balances will fall below the $15.00 fine limit. 

“As an organization, we are very aware of how much this community values and depends upon the library. That is why we have taken a series of steps to reduce barriers and allow more people to access our resources, both physical and digital,” Smith said.

In May 2020 ACPL’s board of trustees voted in favor of allowing those who had exceeded the fines limit to have access to the library’s electronic resources, such as e-books and audible books. 

The fine forgiveness event will run until October 1, 2020.  Overdue items can be returned to any ACPL location.  Contact ACPL at l (260)421-1200 or for more information.