Texas: Houston Public Library Reports Dramatic Spike in Users After Dropping Fines
From the Houston Chronicle:
Since becoming a “fine free” system and wiping overdue fees, the Houston Public Library System (HPL) has seen a spike in Houstonians wanting to use its resources again. The Houston Public Library started an amnesty period from January 18 to February 17, allowing residents to return overdue items and wipe their fee records.
According to HPL, 3,098 people returned around 21,245 items borrowed from the library, totaling a value of $425,000 of items at the library.
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[Julie] Mintzer, [Deputy Assistant Director for the Houston Public Library System], said choosing to go fine-free has encouraged users to return to the library.
“For the folks who had their accounts blocked, and they couldn’t check out items – once their accounts were cleared, now they’re coming back to the library and they’re coming back strong, and were thrilled – were thrilled for that,” she said.
850 of the 3,098 customers who returned during the amnesty period are actively using the library again. Among those 850 people, over 6,500 materials have already been checked out. Mintzer said many customers were shocked that their fees were removed.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.