At the May 2018 meeting, the Peter White Public Library Board of Trustees approved a pilot program to go “Fine-Free” on Youth books. This trial period will give PWPL time and data by which to evaluate the idea of becoming a fine-free public library.

The pilot program only includes books and audiobook materials in the Children and Teen collections. Lost or damaged items will still result in replacement fees.

The PWPL Board of Trustees began discussing this idea in March 2018 stemming from a proposal by Youth Services Librarian Sarah Rehborg. “We want children to come to the library and check out books,” reasons Rehborg. “Fines can act as a deterrent to this.”

Fines and fees have traditionally been a part of library services in public libraries across the country. However, libraries have started to question the benefit of this continued practice in the past decade. Many libraries have started to transition away from overdue fines for several reasons, most noted is the ill-will that fine collection can create.

The PWPL Board of Trustees has discussed issues related to potential item loss and financial impact, which is why only a trial period was approved. During the trial period, PWPL will collect data to help Board members determine if continuing fine-free library services is a mutually beneficial decision.

Other regional libraries who are fine free include: Dickinson County Public Library, Menominee County Library, Munising School/Public Library (charges fines on DVD’s only) and Crawford County Library (Juvenile materials are fine free).

To read more about public libraries going fine-free, visit: