Watertown’s library drops late fees on overdue books

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:41 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Many libraries are ditching the late fees for overdue books. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown is one of them.

The library’s director says the hope is that it will encourage more people to use the library.

“If removing this barrier helps more people come in, then we welcome that and we’re happy to be here and we’re happy to help you in any way that we can,” said Suzie Renzi-Falge, library director.

The Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown decided to go fine-free because it benefits the community more than the small amount of revenue it brings in.

“We just ask that you do still return them. We will still charge fees for damaged items or items that are never brought back, but in general, we don’t believe that you should harass the public for late fines,” said Renzi-Falge.

Some of those celebrating the no more late fines include moms who frequently stop by for story time.”

Thalia Shriver and her one-year-old son like to check out books after storytime. Shriver says sometimes Oliver wants to hang on a little longer to a book. With no fines, it makes it easier.

“I really appreciate the flexibility that offers because, yes, sometimes he’s really interested in a book, and we’ll read it over and over again and he’s still handing me the same one,” she said.

Shriver says going fine-free just adds to what the library already has to offer. She personally enjoys the play time and education storytime brings to Oliver.

“Literacy is still so important, you know, building that foundation of language, so reading is important, being around other kids is important,” she said.

The North Country Public Library System says this now makes all of the libraries in Jefferson and Lewis counties completely fine free. As for St. Lawrence County, they are working towards it.