Beginning April 2021, the Wautoma Library eliminates fines for overdue materials

Why is the library eliminating fines? Don’t fines ensure that borrowers return library items on time?

Data shows that fines are not an effective incentive for returning library materials. Some libraries report their return rate stayed the same, or even improved once they stopped assessing fines. And the threat of fines prevents some people from using the library.

This initiative helps us meet our core mission of ensuring that everyone in our community can have equal access to library materials, regardless of their situation.

Will fines currently on my account be removed, or does this just apply to future checkouts?

All overdue fines on materials owned by Wautoma Public Library will be removed from patron accounts – regardless of how long overdue the materials are.

Can I return items that are long overdue or have been marked “lost?”

Yes! We want to get these items back in circulation, so please return them so that other patrons can enjoy them! If an item is truly lost, you can replace it with a new, exact edition copy.

How will the library encourage patrons to return materials on time without imposing fines?

The library alerts patrons that materials are coming due in numerous ways, including emails, texts and voicemails. Sign up for text messages via Shoutbomb or call (920) 787-2988 to set up your account for email notices.

Are other libraries fine free?

At this time, 15 libraries in the Winnefox Library System, which includes Wautoma Public Library, no longer assess fines for some or all materials. And the fine free movement has taken on momentum across the nation, including large library systems such as Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

How do I apply for a library card, or replace one that I’ve lost?

We’ve made it easy to get a library card online! If you know someone who doesn’t have internet access, have them call 787-2988.

Patrons may still see charges for overdue materials checked out through Interlibrary Loan; overdue items from other Winnefox libraries that charge fines; and lost or damaged materials. These fines and fees are not eliminated by the new policy.