As 2023 kicks off, the Rock Island Public Library announced its new fine-free policy for cardholders.

Under the new lending policy, Rock Island Public Library (RIPL) cardholders will not be charged a daily late fine on most overdue materials, with the exception of certain specialty items. The new policy for RIPL cardholders starts with items checked out in 2023, with some exceptions. According to a release:

Scarce specialty items, such as hotspots and mobile streaming devices, cultural passes and Library of Things collections will still accrue late fines when overdue. Items checked out in 2022 and returned late in 2023 may still collect overdue fines. The new policy isn’t a free pass. Library representatives note that items still need to be returned, and that lost, damaged, processing, and collection fees will still be charged, if necessary.

Rock Island Public Library

“Items will still have due dates, and we encourage patrons to pay attention and return our items in a timely manner,” Christina Nobiling, RIPL Director of Circulation Services, said. “For our cardholders that do lose track of the date, there’s no overdue penalty.”

The policy does not include replacement costs or damaged items; items kept too long will be counted as lost, with the cost billed to a patron’s account. Courtesy notices and friendly reminder notices will continue to help patrons remember to return items. Patrons can keep track of items checked out via the PrairieCat website and PrairieCat mobile app.

According to Angela Campbell, Director of the Rock Island Public Library, overdue fines account for less than one percent of the Library’s overall budget. “Rather than motivating returns, fines are a source of anxiety that block people from coming back,” Campbell said. “As a matter of equity, we want our entire community to benefit from our lifelong learning opportunities. Libraries that have eliminated overdue fines have seen an increase in returns, and more use of library materials, and that’s the result we want to see, too.”

For more information, click here or contact the Circulation Desk at (309) 732-READ.