Grand Island Public Library plans to become ‘fine-free’ | Grand Island Local News


Grand Island Public Library could become “no fine”.

The library board will discuss the matter at its 5 p.m. meeting Monday at the library at 1124 W. Second St. Forgiving fines is something other libraries in Nebraska, including Omaha, Hastings and Kearney, are doing, a said library director Celine Swan.

“Nationally, libraries started not paying fines to bring people back into the library who might not use it because they might have been fined a long time ago and they are afraid to come back,” Swan said. “The library wants to work with people to help them get rid of their fines, if we can.”

Grand Island library patrons don’t generate a lot of fees, Swan said.

“We really don’t have much,” she said. “Of our overall budget, I would say it’s probably a very, very small percentage.”

GIPL has forgiven late fees since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. Part of Monday’s discussion will focus on whether or not to resume billing fees this fall.

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“We’re just trying to help people, because they don’t need to worry anymore,” Swan said. “We tried to work with people if they couldn’t come back because they were sick, or even if they needed to quarantine their books, we gave them extra time and we didn’t charged with fines.”

New challenges await Grand Island families in 2022, such as inflation, Swan said.

“We need to be aware of our community and be able to help people, because a lot of those people are people who need to be at the library using our resources, maybe looking for a job or using our materials to save money,” she said. . “There are a lot of positives to working with people.”

The library does not suffer from a lack of frequentation. Customer participation remained strong during the pandemic and increased as restrictions were steadily eased.

According to information provided to GIPL board members, the library received more than 9,000 visits each month from March to May this year.

“Our library has been through tough times, as libraries have for centuries,” Swan said. “They are very resilient. They bounce. We have information here for people. Our library is a community center for everyone, of all ages.

She added: “We are currently in a position to continue to help even more with the way the world is right now.”

For more information, contact the Grand Island Public Library at 308-385-5333. To learn more about GIPL services, visit www.gilibrary.org.

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