For Immediate Release: 2/22/2021 3:52 pm
The Worcester Public Library Foundation (WPLF) has made a donation of $10,000 toward the Worcester Public Library’s (WPL) fine free initiative.
WPL announced the changes to their fine policy on July 21, 2020. At that time, the Foundation and the City of Worcester committed to working with the library to remove overdue fines, as well as support the forgiveness of all outstanding fines that were owed to WPL.
The changes were made to ensure equitable access of library resources to everyone in the Worcester community. The WPLF, the fundraising arm of the Worcester Public Library, made a plea to the community in a fundraising appeal stressing the importance of eliminating fines as barriers to access
“We are happy to be able to participate in this initiative and play our part in supporting WPL’s vision of being a welcoming destination and the leading provider of resources to inform, enlighten, and enrich our diverse community,” said Christine Murray, Executive Director of WPLF. “The elimination of library fines helps bring equity to our public library system, and during this unprecedented time, it is especially important to make information and services available to all people.”
Historically, fines have served as a barrier to library services, especially for low-income families and individuals. In the past WPL patrons were locked out of using library services after they accrued $10 in fines. The fine forgiveness impacted over 30,000 patron accounts, including removing the block on 184 children’s cards, 4,843 teen’s cards, 1,680 adult’s cards, and 102 senior’s cards, allowing a total of 6,809 patrons who were previously blocked from using library services to regain access.
“There is no doubt that this program has paid dividends since it was put in place last year,” City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said. “We know how important the Worcester Public Library is to the City of Worcester, and it was critical to eliminate any barriers preventing access from those who can most benefit from the library’s services. I extend my deep gratitude to the Worcester Public Library Foundation for its generous donation to support this vital initiative.”
Communities across the United States have reported that their fine free initiatives have led to positive results including increased circulation, the return of patrons, as well as the return of long overdue materials. The administrative costs, including equipment rental, collection contracts, and staff time associated with collecting funds from patrons, can equal or exceed the revenue earned from library fines.
Library users still need to return items, and receive regular reminders. Fees are still collected on lost or damaged items. Patrons are also charged for borrowed items including museum passes, Wi-Fi hotspots, laptops, and telescopes.
If you would like to make a donation to the Worcester Public Library Foundation please visit https://wplfoundation.org/. For more information on the Worcester Public Library and a complete list of resources and services visit, https://www.mywpl.org/. For more information on the fine free initiative at WPL contact Linnea Sheldon, Community Relations and Communications Manager, at 508-799-1654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.