Forbes Library eliminated late fees for children and young adults in 2019 and has now stopped charging adults late fees as well. The Trustees of Forbes Library unanimously approved this policy change at their April 2021 meeting upon the recommendation of the library’s Racial & Social Justice Committee. Research shows that rather than encourage people to return library materials in a timely manner, overdue fines often instead result in patrons not returning items at all because they are discouraged by the fees or unable to afford them. This means that the library does not get these items back to circulate to other patrons and loses these people from continuing to be library patrons. “Library late fees are a legacy from a previous era and we are delighted to do away with them. We work hard to break down barriers to access to books, technology and information and this decision goes a long way in supporting that effort,” said Lisa Downing, director.

Fees collected have been used to purchase new items for the collection and this income has been on the decline over the past decade. Libraries are circulating more e-content that doesn’t generate late fees, as well as instituting automatic renewals of items for patrons on a system wide basis. Fee income will now be replaced in the book budget with donations, including the new Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund that was established last year. “We are confident that our community is committed to supporting the needs of readers of all ages and backgrounds and will continue the long tradition of making donations which we will use to offset this lost fee income,” said Russell Carrier, President of the Board of Trustees.

Donations may be designated to the book & media budget at or in person. Patrons are encouraged to return books by their due dates and will be charged replacement fees if they are unable to return items.