As of July 1, Prince William County’s public libraries are no longer charging fines for late items.
The library system recognizes, based on data and statistics throughout the country as well as through stories from the community, that removing late fees will have a positive impact on those who enjoy the libraries’ services, resources and materials, according to a Prince William Public Library System news release.
"In recent years, PWPL has increased its focus on removing barriers to better serve the community," the release said. "Fines typically most affect those with limited resources and deter them from checking materials out from the libraries."
"By removing overdue fines, other libraries throughout the country have noticed that patrons are returning their overdue items at an increased rate and more patrons are reengaging with their libraries,” Prince William Public Libraries Director Deborah Wright said in the news release.
The libraries first started suspending fines for kids and teens from March to November 2020. After looking at data, leadership chose not to re-implement fines for young patrons after November 2020 as the benefits far outweighed the small amount of revenue received from late fees.
“Our vision of being the hub connecting people to the transforming power of information is becoming a reality by taking steps like removing fines, offering mobile wi-fi hotspots for patrons to have internet access in their homes and increasing both our physical and online collections,” Wright said. “We want to continue to be a welcoming, inclusive environment and we can only do so by making changes that better our patrons’ experiences.”
Patrons will still be responsible for paying for lost or damaged items, but staff will work with patrons to clear old fees from their accounts after they return past-due items at any of Prince William Public Libraries’ 12 branches. For more information, visit pwcva.gov/library.