Just Bring it Back! No More Late Fees at La Grange Public Library!

September 12, 2019

Effective this week, anyone who checks out materials from the La Grange Public Library will no longer accrue late fees for materials returned after the due date.

Partially due to the introduction of auto-renewals on library items in 2017, overdue fine revenue has decreased significantly in recent years. This has put the La Grange Public Library in a position where late fee revenue has no significant budgetary impact, which helped make this change possible.

“We believe this will result in more equitable and increased access and utilization of our services, which is what the library is all about,” said Charity Gallardo, La Grange Public Library Executive Director.

“Late fees for overdue library materials serve as a barrier to access for those who can least afford it. They also tend to disproportionately impact children and families who often check out large numbers of materials and can find their cards blocked pending payment if those many items are even a few days late. This change means if our materials are returned for someone else to use, that borrower’s card returns to good standing and their access is restored.”

With the new system, a library card would be suspended after four or more items are overdue. Once the materials are returned, or lost items have been paid for, the library card will again be available for use.

Other area libraries have also made this change in recent years, including Oak Park Public Library, Addison Public Library and the Algonquin Area Public Library. They have reported positive feedback from their patrons.

“While this is new to La Grange patrons, it has proven to be a success at a number of libraries around the country,” said La Grange Public Library Board President, Joyce Hagen-McIntosh.

“The financial impact is very low compared to the increase library staff have seen in patron usage and circulation of materials.”

Additionally, September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so if late fees have been keeping you away, please stop by the Library so staff can issue you a new card. You’ll get to spin our prize wheel, and new cardholders will be entered in a special drawing for even more great prizes. Just visit our front desk to get started.

No more late fees will apply to all materials checked out at the La Grange Public Library. Any La Grange patron who checks out materials at another SWAN library will still be responsible for paying late fees if that library collects them.


No More Late Fees FAQ

Q: How many overdue items can patrons have before their library card is blocked?
A: Cards will be blocked once four or more items are overdue.

Q: Will my taxes to the library go up as a result of this?
A: No, we are not increasing taxes. Partially due to the introduction of auto-renewals on library items in 2017, overdue fine revenue has decreased significantly in recent years. This has put the La Grange Public Library in a position where late fee revenue has no significant budgetary impact, which helped make this change possible.

Q: What about lost or damaged items?
A: Patrons will still be billed for lost or damaged items.

Q: Will I be charged overdue fines on items owned by other libraries?
A: You won’t be charged overdue fines on any material you check out at the La Grange Public Library. That includes items owned by other libraries that you place on hold and have sent to the La Grange Public Library for pickup. You will, however, be responsible for overdue fines when you visit other libraries to check out items, if those libraries charge overdue fines.

Q: Are other libraries eliminating late fees?
A: Yes! Nearby Oak Park Public Library, Addison Public Library, River Forest Public Library and the Algonquin Area Library have all eliminated late fees and report positive feedback from patrons.

Q: If I owed late fees from before the change was made, do I still need to pay the fines?
A: Late fees were cleared for all La Grange patrons in an effort to give patrons a fresh start.