In the Stacks: A Blog Straight From the Mind of Steve – Why We Have Late Fees

 Well it goes without saying that most every patron in the library district has at least one time gone to access their account and saw that they owed money to the library. Sometimes they’ll look and see a mere .25 cents owed, and sometimes they may be blocked out of their accounts owing hundreds of dollars! Usually, there is no need to explain how those fines got onto that account because it was probably due to an overdue item. Yet, every so often we will hear someone ask us why we even have fees in the first place. Well I am happy to say that the higher-ups of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District have provided us answers to that very question. Allow me to share a few of them now.

            We have fines/fees because they:

  • Keep materials on the shelves. Unfortunately, if we didn’t impose fines, some materials would never come back to the library.
  • Give people an incentive to return their materials on time.
  • Support many library services.
  • Encourage children to read. Overdue fines are not charged on children’s returned items.

I must say, those are absolutely perfect reasons as to how those pesky fines sneak onto our library cards. Within the policies and procedures of the District; for every item you have overdue you will accrue .25 cents a day in late fines. Again, if you have items from the Children’s Section of the library, you can rest assured that those items (once returned) will not collect overdue fees. Yet, there are a few exceptions to that rule. Please take note to your checked out items, primarily those that are put on hold for you. If an item you have checked out is from Boulder City Library, or from the Henderson/North Las Vegas Library Districts, you might incur separate fees even for kids items! This was one of the stipulations that the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District had to agree to in order to share materials with the other Library Districts. So in those instances, don’t think that any librarian will be waiving your fine on that copy of Where’s Spot? from Green Valley Library. It’s just not gonna happen.

Always remember that your accounts can accrue up to $10.00 in late fees (as long as that fee isn’t for a Collection Report Charge) before your card gets blocked. Unless of course your card is expired, then you will need to bring whatever balance you owe down to $0.00. Why does the card expire? Well… let’s leave that for another time shall we? J So if you’re on the self-check out kiosks, and you go to press the “Logout” button but notice that your “Pay Fines” tab at the bottom right of the screen says that you owe $4.50; DO NOT PANIC! Library police aren’t going to pop up out of nowhere and arrest you. You can just press that tab and the screen will bring up a list of all the items that processed late fees on your card and the amounts owed for each of them. If you feel inclined to pay the fee(s) right then and there, the self-check kiosks have a swipe machine for swiping credit/debit cards. Simply run your credit/debit card through that and enter your billing address zip code, and then you can pay off part or all of your fine(s). Or… if you happen to feel like it’s absurd that you have any fees in the first place, you can walk up (nicely?) to the Customer Service Desk and inquire more about your fees. Please note that fees can accrue both when you return any item late, or renew any items that were already late when you renewed them. And also, just because you brought the item back, that does not mean that your fine goes away. Those fees will stay on your card until they are completely paid off or waived from your account.

So in closing, please make sure that your items are brought back on time. A lot of items we check out are renewable so if you’re getting close to that due date and you want to keep your materials longer just log onto and access your account to make sure your items get renewed to a later date. OR… you can call us and library staff can help renew your items over the phone for you with your library card. OR… just come into your nearest library and have the staff help you renew the items in person. You can even renew items yourself on the self-check kiosks. So, don’t feel the need to sacrifice a quarter to keep an item you have an extra day past it’s due date. Of course for something like Fifty Shades of Grey, you might not be able to renew it just yet; but I’m sure a lot of people will tell you that it’s worth the fine. I’m just going to go ahead and make no comment on that one. J


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