Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

No judgment; just pay the extended use fee

August 25, 2010

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?

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