Fine Free for Kids: Library Will No Longer Charge Overdue Fines on Youth Accounts
Beginning today, Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) will stop charging overdue fines on youth accounts (for children ages 0 to 17). Fees for lost or damaged items still apply; and fines accrued for items prior to July 1, 2021 must still be paid.
"Equal and equitable access to information is a core value of libraries," said Director of Libraries Eva Poole. "Removing overdue fines from youth accounts is a first step in removing economic barriers to accessing library materials, especially for children who may need us the most. Inability to pay fines may prevent families from returning materials or visiting the library at all. The goal is to get the materials back into our collection, and to encourage families to continue using the library."
VBPL has two other account types with no overdue fines: teen accounts, which children ages 13 to 17 may obtain on their own, and student accounts, which provide automatic digital library and computer access for all Virginia Beach City Public School students. VBPL will continue monitoring its collection and usage data and reviewing its policies, with a goal of removing overdue fines from all its accounts.
Additional changes toward removing economic barriers for VBPL customers include removing a $1 fee for materials placed on hold but not picked up. And, customers whose accounts are blocked from checking out physical items due to accrued fines may now access computers and digital resources.
VBPL is one of many libraries around the country to change overdue fine policies. The American Library Association (ALA), the largest professional organization for libraries, passed a resolution in 2019 stating that overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them.
About Virginia Beach Public Library
Virginia Beach Public Library includes a central library, a joint-use library in partnership with Tidewater Community College, seven area libraries and a public law library. Services include workforce development and job-search support, small business resources, computer and technology classes, early literacy classes and outreach, and local history archives and programs. In addition to books, music, magazines and movies in tangible and digital formats, the library provides online research tools accessible from home or work, and a variety of specialty collections. Visit www.VBgov.com/libraries for more information.