The Omaha Public Library is trying to eliminate overdue fees. The city council holds a public hearing
OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The Omaha Public Library is trying to eliminate overdue fees. The Library’s Board of Trustees and Mayor Stothert suggested that the Omaha City Council turn it into an ordinance.
The board took this step because they believe it will help create a fairer city.
“Libraries are about free and fair access to information. If you create financial barriers for people who do not have the resources to just pay their fines, we are eliminating our entire mission. It really doesn’t help them in any way,” said Emily Getzschman, Marketing Manager for the Omaha Public Library.
Getzschman said the overall impact of eliminating these fees won’t have much of an impact on the library’s revenue. Overdue fees are 25 cents per day per item and are capped at $ 5.
“The actual amount we collect from fines or fees is actually very, very small. What we really looked at before we even pointed out we were eliminating fines is how much it would affect our budget. We found that it’s a third of one percent of our total budget, which isn’t much for us. The benefits of getting rid of fines are far more than anything we would get by collecting those fines, “Getzschman said.
While some may think that eliminating fees will keep people from returning the books, library officials think it won’t make much of a difference. Getzschman said she believes that those who will return books or those who won’t, will, regardless of whether there is a fine or not.
Fines for items that are never returned and replacement fees remain in place.
There were no opponents of the regulation at the council meeting and council members showed support.