Readers who have a hard time remembering to return their library books in Iowa don’t have to worry about the hit to their wallets anymore.

Beginning January 1st, RiverShare member libraries will stop collecting overdue fines for late materials. This move to fine-free lending is meant to remove barriers to accessing library materials for everyone. “The potential of accruing overdue fines can prevent some community members from checking out library items or even obtaining a library card,” said Robert Fiedler, Director of Musser Public Library. “We are committed to making our libraries as accessible as possible to those who need it the most”

The move to fine-free lending follows national library trends that have been shown to increase library card usage. The American Library Association says the evidence from recent fine-free libraries has reduced the amount of time staff members spend managing dues and removes economic barriers to accessing library materials and services. However, that doesn’t mean library patrons can keep a particularly loved book forever. “With the elimination of fines, items will still have due dates and need to be returned to the library or a bill will be issued for a lost item. Research has shown that late fines don’t affect return rates and we anticipate that removing fines will allow us to encourage more people to use our libraries,” said Tricia Kane, Director of Scott County Library System.

The RiverShare Library System was founded in 1966 and is made up of the following area libraries: 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 Scott County Library System. More information about the River Share Library System can be found here.