[Library Media] Overdue and Lost Library Book Fees

Heather Novotny hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org
Wed May 10 10:30:48 MDT 2017

We don't charge fines, but parents are expected to pay for lost or damaged materials. I personally don't think fines are a good idea in a school library. Fines in the public library settings I've worked in were justified internally as being necessary to secure the return of materials, and did not have any expectation of teaching the public responsibility. If you view fines through that lens (which I think is professionally appropriate) then fines are unnecessary in a school situation where all materials are called back annually. Make sense?

What we are doing is notifying parents twice of when books are due, and in the second notice we say you will be billed for the lost materials on the last day of school unless you make prior arrangements with the parents. My first notice (gently worded over a million revisions) goes out Friday. But, the students all know that books are due at the end of the year, and materials are already trickling in. From reports I'm running, about 10% of our collection is currently checked out, and I've got 84 items lost from inventory. Should be OK, right?


 Heather Novotny
The McGillis School
668 South 1300 East Salt Lake City, UT 84102
hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org

 From:   Sarah Herron <Sarah.Herron at slcschools.org> 
 To:   "library-media at lists.uen.org" <library-media at lists.uen.org> 
 Sent:   5/10/2017 9:38 AM 
 Subject:   [Library Media] Overdue and Lost Library Book Fees 

Chris Haught from SEDC asked me a question about how UT school libraries handle lost and/or overdue book fees. Chris said, “I searched and found a lot of opinions and district  policies, but nothing definitive. I once was told that it was illegal to charge elementary school students for lost books, and even fines because they were too young to enter into a contract.” 
Any ideas on this topic? We would love to hear your input. 
Sarah Herron 
Sarah G. Herron 
Conference Chair, Utah Educational Library Media Association 
Library Technology Teacher, M. Ed. 
East High School 
840 South 1300 East
 Salt Lake City, Utah 84102 
Email: sarah.herron at slcschools.org 
Phone:    801-583-1661 x2202
 Fax:         801-584-2927 
"Librarians are the coolest people out there, doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed  by their sheer awesomeness."   - Neil Gaiman 
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