October 22, 2019

Report: “Why Libraries Are Giving Up On Late Fees”

From Pymnts (a Payments Industry News Site):

In a digital world – where most of the classics can be downloaded for free, reference books are rapidly becoming a tool of antiquity and digital streaming has largely eliminated the need for a physical hub for free access to entertainment media – libraries are struggling to bring users in the door. One apparent solution, according to Curtis Rogers, a spokesman for Urban Libraries Council, is to get rid of the things that are actively driving people away.

“We’d rather have you come to the library and engage in our services,” Rogers noted.

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Incidentally, most people don’t actually know this, according to Equifax – which means they get a lot of questions from panicked library delinquents worried they are about to be booted from mainstream credit markets.

“The topic has come up so frequently that we decided to include it among our credit myths,” said Nancy E. Bistritz-Balkan, spokeswoman for Equifax.

The specialty credit collectors for library fees still exist – but in 45 states, they are unable to put the fine data onto a credit report. And even in the states where they are allowed to do so, they usually don’t.

Unique Library, based in Indiana, is one such specialty credit firm. As a rule, they do not try to wreck library patrons’ credit – instead, they employ what they call a “gentle nudge” policy, aimed at inspiring people to either return their books and pay the fine, or just buy the book. They claim to have collected more than a billion dollars in fines and late fees for overdue materials on behalf of nearly 2,000 libraries in five countries.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1400 words)

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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