The Stoughton Public Library’s board of directors will view a presentation on the possibility of eliminating library fines next week.
The library charges 20 cents per day in late fees for most adult books and audio/visual materials and 10 cents per day for children’s material. Some items that are in high demand have late fees of $1 per day.
Library director Jim Ramsey said that there are no plans to eliminate fines in Stoughton any time soon. The presentation is an opportunity to gather and present information only.
In recent years, many libraries in the region and the country have begun to eliminate their fines, including the Verona and Fitchburg public libraries, which both changed their policies over the past year. The Madison public library system is also considering eliminating overdue fines, according to a story last month in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Organizations such as the American Library Association say fines are a barrier to access for many potential library users, who might avoid checking out books for themselves or their children because they fear being unable to pay steep fines.
Some library systems have seen an increase in returns since they eliminated overdue fees. Chicago’s public libraries reported a 240 percent increase in returned materials after they went fine free in October.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, and is open to the public.