No judgment; just pay the extended use fee

August 25, 2010
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The next time your book is overdue at Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, you’ll be charged an “extended use fee” instead of being slapped with a fine.

The penalty is the same—25 cents a day for books and a dollar a day for video tapes, DVDs and CDs. Oops, sorry about that. Actually, it isn’t even a penalty. The system no longer judges your motive or even the veracity of your memory.

“It’s in keeping with the language that’s being used in libraries around the country,” explains library spokeswoman Maria Blake. “It goes from sounding a bit punitive to an indication that people had for whatever reason chosen to keep items beyond the due date.”

The library launched the new language this month to varied response. One patron charged the library with political correctness. Others are saying a fine should simply be called a fine, and still others don’t care.

Through July this year, the library has collected $954,743 in fines, err, fees, down slightly from the same stretch last year, Blake says, but she doesn’t know if the new language has changed behavior at other libraries.

Your turn: How do you like the change?

  • Really?
    I wonder how much hours/money was wasted in this decision. Grow up people; we donâ??t need to treat everyone like a special little snowflake. If an item isnâ??t returned by the due date, it is, in fact, LATE. Call it what it is and move on â?? I bet countless meeting were scheduled, many man hours were used to come up with this waste of time. No wonder the government is in so much debt; they waste time by deciding on these types of â??importantâ?? issues instead on focusing on the actual, real problems.
  • Extended Leave notices
    It is what it is, overdue fines! Why do you continue to spend high dollar salaries on meetings for such nonsense. Who can stop this administration from wasting our hard earned, hard to come by property taxes?
  • fines are going down
    "Extended Use Fees" on cds are only 25 cents per day. Yes, the language is stupid & confusing. Isn't renewing an item "extended use"? No fines, fees or whatever for that!
  • DVDs will be just $1/day, down from $2
    In addition to LibraryFan's correction about CDs (they are still only 25 cents/day), DVDs are dropping from $2/day to $1/day.
  • extended use vs. renewal
    I'm confused!!!
    • Lowered
      I'm not really sure why it's such a huge deal that the language has changed. People should be happy that the "extended use fee" for DVDs changed from $2/day to $1/day. Also, the fees for CDs are 25 cents per day, not a dollar.

      Does anyone do any real research before they slap these things onto the internet?
    • you will not be charged to renew
      "Extended use fee" refers to keeping items past their due dates. You will not be charged for renewing items as long as you renew them before they are due.
    • fees going down
      & oh yeah... fines on videotapes are going down from $2 to 25 cents a day...

      "Because other libraries are doing it" doesn't mean it's a good idea. To paraphrase Mom, if all the other libraries started jumping off a cliff, would they do it too?
      • clarification
        LibraryGuy, you're correct about the DVD fee dropping to $1. My misunderstanding. LibraryFan and Crystal, Maria says the CD fee is indeed $1 per day.
      • I love our library system
        The library in my neighborhood is awesome. It is one of the most diverse places that I visit nearly every week. The selections of books, mixed media, and opportunities for personal growth are worth every cent of my tax dollars. I am fine with paying even higher fines when I extend my user privlages beyond the return date. Worth every cent to keep the Library going.
      • CD fine correction
        The library has lots of CDs, both music and books-on-CD. Those will still be $.25 per day. They also have a small number of CD-ROMs, which have always had the same fines as DVDs, and which will go down to $1 per day.
      • It's still a fine, call it that!
        It's a fine.

        I don't even mind the value judgment, because if I've kept a book beyond the time it is lent to me, I've done something wrong and I should be punished. Look at it this way: a library is for the benefit of the community, not for the individuals in the community. (subtle difference) I know that it's important to the health of the system to keep materials circulating. If I harm the system by not returning my books on time, then I pay restitution in the form of cash. That makes me responsible to the entire community, whereas an "extended use fee" makes it seem as if I can buy my way into making my needs more important than those of everyone else.

        If we encourage a community approach to our shared resources, then a sense of personal responsibility goes along with it.
      • $1,000,000 in fees?
        Did I read that correctly? The library has collected almost a million dollars in fees from January through July? I have no problem with paying a fee if I don't return items in time. I'm just shocked that overdue fees would provide that much income to the library. Our libraries are great and they can certainly use all the operating income they can get.
      • fee correction
        Extended use fees are $1 for VHS tapes, not 25 cents.

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