Library Increases Late Fees

For the first time in more than 30 years, fines have increased at the James Prendergast Library.

Last month, fines increased to 15 cents each day past their due date for books; audio books, CDs and cassette tapes; music CDs; and magazines. For DVDs and VHS tapes, the fines have increased to 50 cents.

”The fines have not gone up in at least 30 years,” said Tina Scott, James Prendergast Library director. ”We are more in line with other libraries.”

Scott said library officials have been discussing increasing fines for a while. Scott said, when she joined the James Prendergast Library staff five years ago, she thought the fines were lower than other libraries charge.

”Some libraries don’t do fines, if they have a revenue stream. We don’t like looking at it as a revenue stream, but we have to do it. We have to continue to buy new materials, and if things don’t come back at all, we have to replace those items,” Scott said.

Scott said so far there has been no reaction to the fines increasing.

”I have not heard any complaints. Once it has been in place for awhile it will hit people, but we haven’t heard any complaints yet.”

The James Prendergast Library no longer charges a hold fee to reserve items. The library had charged 50 cents to reserve an item, but this policy was discarded in November.

Now people can reserve items, have them held, and receive notifications when they are available at no charge.

”It was meant to pay for postage, but now we notify people by email so that takes away the postage cost,” Scott said.

For information, call the James Prendergast Library at 484-7135. The library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown.