By Jessica Mathews /

The Brighton District Library has officially entered a new chapter in the New Year – it’s no longer charging overdue fines for most items that are returned late.

Library Director Cindy Mack says they’re excited to be fine-free. She says fine-free policies have been gaining momentum nationally for a fair number of years but in Michigan and locally over the past year or two it’s been an in-depth conversation amongst public libraries and is definitely a growing trend.

Mack says the basic idea and philosophy is that as a library, they want to make sure they’re providing equal access to information, services and opportunities that inspire, enrich and enhance the quality of life for patrons. She says they’re committed to providing literacy and really believe that by eliminating overdue fines, they’re making sure the library is the place for Brighton residents to be able to read, discover and connect without barriers.

Mack told WHMI patrons have the best intentions but they recognize that life sometimes gets in the way from work schedules to kids to snowstorms. She says overdue fines accumulate for a variety of reasons and they know it can become frustrating and burdensome, which might deter people from using the library and that’s exactly what they don’t want.

Mack commented that they’ve noticed a decline in revenue from overdue fines throughout the years so it’s not a significant budget item the library is collecting to operate.

All existing overdue fines assessed for late materials have been eliminated and removed from accounts as of January 1st. However, any patrons who may have lost or damaged materials will need to settle up to reinstate borrowing privileges.

More information is available in the attachment.