If the latest page-turner kept you so engrossed you forgot to return your library books on time, you won’t have to pay a fine at the Clinton Public Library anymore.

The library, along with other RiverShare libraries, stopped collecting fines for overdue materials as of January 1 of this year. This policy removes economic barriers that might have discouraged people from checking out library materials, especially those in low-income households.

“The process of going fine-free started in April 2019 when our library board voted to not charge overdue fines for children’s materials,” said Clinton Public Library Director, Susan Mesecher. “Our Library Board then voted to eliminate fines for Young Adults and to begin automatic renewal in 2022. We have made great progress to include all regular materials in 2023 as fine-free. Our library is your tax dollars at work, so there isn’t a need to charge any fines.”

According to the American Library Association, libraries that have gone fine-free in recent years have seen an increase in library use, and staffers at the Clinton Public Library hope that trend continues at their library. “By going fine-free, we hope to welcome back patrons who couldn’t check out library items because they had too many overdue fines or were worried to check out items because they may accrue fines. Our main goal as a library is for more people to use our resources, which this policy encourages,” said Mesecher.

Going fine-free doesn’t mean patrons can keep items forever. All checked out items will still have due dates and users will eventually be charged if items aren’t returned. Patrons who return technology items late, such as Wi-Fi hotspots and Fitbits, will still be charged an overdue fee, due to the demand and cost of these items.

The Clinton Public Library is a part of the RiverShare Library consortium that includes the Bettendorf Public Library, Clinton Community College Library, Clinton Public Library, Davenport Public Library, LeClaire Community Library, Muscatine Community College Library, Musser Public Library, Scott County College Library and the Scott County Library System. For more information on the Clinton Public Library, click here.