University Libraries eliminates fines

September 28, 2021 (Volume 45, Number 3)
Article by Anna Young

students seated at work spaces in the Mary Idema Pew Library

Students are pictured in the Mary Idema Pew Library on the Allendale Campus. University Libraries announced it will eliminate fees on most overdue materials.
 

Photo Credit: University Communications

University Libraries has taken steps to eliminate fines on overdue materials in order to improve equity and access for library visitors. 

Jon Jeffryes, interim associate dean of University Libraries, said Grand Valley is an early adopter of this practice in the academic library space. 

"It started with questioning our traditional practices and asking if we are doing this because there's an actual purpose for it or if it's just the way we have historically done things," Jeffreys said. 

Fines were previously used as a way of encouraging library users to return materials on time, but the new approach will simply limit individuals from checking out additional materials if they have overdue items.

Anything owned by GVSU that is loaned to students, faculty or staff members will not have fines attached but items loaned from libraries external to Grand Valley will still have fines, Jeffryes said. The only time a fee would be charged is if an item is damaged or lost. 

Patrick Roth, department head of systems and technology for University Libraries, said public libraries across the country were the inspiration for making this change.

"Public libraries do a great job of pushing the limits on what can be done to increase access and make things more equitable," said Roth.

These changes were spurred by University Libraries bringing on a new software system. Other recent changes include increasing the length of time materials can be checked out, and improvements on search functions within the library's database. 

Roth noted most of the system changes will impact the staff's workflow, allowing them to get materials to those who need it more efficiently. Comprehensive fines and fee information can be found on the Libraries’ borrowing policies page.

 

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This article was last edited on September 28, 2021 at 11:38 a.m.

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