PALM SPRINGS — The Palm Springs Public Library has joined a national trend of eliminating library fines to avoid adversely affecting low-income people who rely on this critical service and to help recover overdue items.

The city follows a national trend that includes Nashville, Columbus and Salt Lake City. It is the first public library in the Coachella Valley to take the lead on eliminating fines.

The policy went into effect July 1, 2018.

“Our goal is to make sure patrons can enjoy all the books and services the library has to offer,” Jeannie Kays, city Librarian and Director of Library Services, said in a prepared statement. “Overdue fines can prevent some patrons, especially children, from checking out books and other materials from the library. The public library should be an accessible learning portal to children and adults.”

Currently, 12 percent of Palm Springs Public Library adult accounts are blocked with overdue fines and 21 percent of children’s accounts are blocked. Fines once ranged from 25 cents to $1 per item per day, said Julie Warren, library services and public relations manager.

“We want to encourage patrons to bring items back, unblock their accounts, and use the library once again,” Kays said.

Overdue fines make up less than 1 percent of the library’s operating budget and, in fact, cost more in staff time to collect than what is received. It costs nearly $3 to collect a $0.25 fine, for example.

In preparation for this new policy, previous overdue fines will be forgiven, however, lost item fees still apply. The library still charges for replacement and out-of-state library cards, printing, and material replacement costs, etc.

The Palm Springs Public Library houses more than 100,ooo items that include books, DVDs, e-books-, e-magazines, music, CDs, foreign films, TV series, online services and more, Warren said.

Membership is free to any California resident.

Everyone is asked to return items on time so that others may enjoy them. If items are more than seven days overdue or if fees in excess of $5 have accrued, borrowing privileges may be revoked until the items are returned or the replacement costs and processing fees are paid.

Eliminating fines will encourage library use, foster a positive relationship between staff and patrons, and reaffirm that the library is a place to discover, enrich, enjoy, and connect. We want everyone to feel welcome at Palm Springs Public Library.

The library’s new motto is, “Just bring it back!”

Some of the most frequently asked questions, even some of yours are addressed here. 

The Library is located at 300 S. Sunrise Way, on the corner of Sunrise Way and Baristo Road, a destination for residents and visitors alike. For more information call 760-322-READ (7323) or log on here.