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DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The Dubuque public library plans to approve a fine-free test period but will eventually return to charging patrons for overdue books because of a lack of funding.

Carnegie-Stout Public Library’s amnesty period would begin July 1, The Telegraph Herald reported . The library currently has a daily fee of 20 to 50 cents per overdue item, with a maximum fine of $7.50 per item.

Patrons who rack up $10 in fees have a hold placed on their account, which means they’re unable to check out materials or use the library’s computers.

During a six-month period, library patrons wouldn’t be fined for overdue items, but would still be charged for lost or damaged materials, according to the proposed plan. Existing fines wouldn’t be waived.

“You get your period of time where you get a mulligan,” said library board President Patty Poggemiller.

Board members hope waiving fines will incentivize patrons to return materials.

Based on other libraries with similar policies, Carnegie-Stout will likely see more books that are overdue by seven days or less, but there will likely be fewer lost and long-overdue materials, said Susan Henricks, the library’s director.

“The hope is the good will outweigh the negative,” Poggemiller said.

The board said it wants more details about the trial period before approving and implementing it.

Henricks said she plans to give board members an outline with details about the plan on May 24.

The fines would return in January because the library lacks the funds to operate fine-free, Henricks said.

The library has collected an average of about $36,400 per year in annual gross revenue from overdue fines in the past seven years.


Information from: Telegraph Herald,