CONTACT: Edward Garcia, Library Director
RE: Cranston Public Library Goes Fine Free for Children and Teen Materials
In an effort to remove barriers for young people to use the library; the Cranston Public Library will be going "fine free" on all children's and teen materials starting June 16th. Fine Free was unanimously approved by the Library Board of Trustees in January.
This is a continuation of the library's efforts to remove barriers to library use and increase access to resources for young people and families using the library. These efforts started in 2016 when Library Director Ed Garcia, Mayor Allan Fung and Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse signed on the the Leaders Library Card Challenge. This national effort launched in 2015 was an effort to get library cards into the hands of all students.
This past September the library, school department and Mayor's office teamed up for the "Fresh Start" initiative; an effort to make sure every Cranston student had a working library card. During the month long initiative the library issued or updated 1097 library cards and waived close to $3000 in overdue fines.
"The library noticed that fines had a became a barrier for some families from using the library. Many don't return to the library because of an inability to pay fines or for fear of accumulating them. " said Library Director Edward Garcia, "Penalizing young people for late books makes libraries feel unwelcoming".
Library statistics show that over 2200 Cranston children's cards are blocked from using the library due to overdue fines. Also 51% of overdue items are children's materials. "Since fines are part of the library's operating budget, we approached Mayor Fung to make a small investment by lowering library revenue by $20,000 to fund the fine free program". Said Garcia. "The Mayor understood this small investment will make a big difference in providing educational and reading opportunities to all students in Cranston whether their families can afford to pay library fines or not"
"I’m proud that we’re able to eliminate fines for children and teen materials at all of our nationally-recognized libraries and eliminate a barrier standing between children and their access to books,” commented Mayor Allan W. Fung. “ When our library director approached us with the idea, I included support for the program in next year’s budget without hesitation. It’s a small community investment that will pay huge dividends. In Cranston, we prioritize the wellness our children and fine-free materials at our libraries is one example of how this city collaborates to solve problems and is one of the top cities to live in America.”
The Cranston City Council also approved the proposal as part of the overall city budget. "We'd like to thank the Library Board of Trustees, Mayor Allan Fung and the Cranston City Council for agreeing with our belief in removing barriers from young people to use the library", Said Director Garcia.
HOW IT WORKS
Every time you check out from a Cranston Public Library location, you receive a receipt that tells you when the materials are due to be returned. You can call or go online to renew your materials if no one is waiting for them.
If you have overdue items on your card, you have to return them before you will be allowed to check out anything new. But we won’t charge fines on Cranston children’s or teen books, movies, magazines, or audio CDs if they are returned late.
If you check out Cranston adult materials or check out materials from other OSL libraries, you will be charged fines if the materials are returned late. But if you have fines on your card and you’re under 18, please speak to a librarian. We want to make sure you can use your card!
If you do not return your materials by the due date, you will receive a few reminders. If you do not return the items after you receive the reminders, you will be charged for the cost of the materials.
We won’t charge you for returning things a little late, but please don’t keep them forever!
For more information visit www.cranstonlibrary.org/fine-free-worry-free.