Killingly to no longer charge fines for late library books, materials

The town of Killingly this week became part of a larger national trend after Town Council members heeded recommendations to eliminate all late library fines for returned items.

The council, in a 7-1 vote, with one abstention, on Tuesday approved a measure to implement a revised library fine and fees policy at the Killingly Public Library. The new policy stops financially penalizing patrons for returning books and other items after their due date.

Library Director Claudette Stockwell, who spearheaded the revision, said the old system meant it was far too easy for patrons – especially those on fixed incomes or with a large number of children – to be blocked from accessing library materials because of accumulated fines, even if the materials had later been returned.

Kylie Hart, Killingly Public Library technological assistant, sells books to a patron in this file photo

“At the end of one week, someone could potentially owe us almost $ 100,” she said. “Imagine what three weeks looks like if you broke your hip and are in the hospital.”

In addition to the financial aspect, Stockwell said the late fine system can create feelings of embarrassment in patrons denied service and interrupt the library’s mission of promoting literacy, learning, exploration and innovation.

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