Wednesday, February 1, 2023

All Is Forgiven

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As in no fines for forgotten library items here in Nashua, NH.

No fines, period — Library users can keep a borrowed book, DVD, or anything else longer
without fear of a fine or penalty. 
The Nashua Public Library is the largest in NH to go fine-free.

An early holiday gift — this past December, the NPL eliminated fines and erased overdue fines from current accounts in the system. This meant forgiving overdue balances for 40,000 people out of the library's 53,000 account holders, according to a library representative. A total amount of the forgiven fines wasn't given.

Why No Fines? — It's an effort to encourage more library use. It's thought that eliminating fees will encourage people to make more use of the library resources. Overdue fine revenue declined from a high of $78,000 in 2012 to $11,800 for fiscal year 2022. According to a library spokesperson the decline is partially due to automatic renewals and because people are checking out DVDs less now.

Before the new policy took effect, library fines were 15 cents per day for books and magazines and 60 cents for DVDs. Some users will still face penalties for lost or damaged articles and overdue fines for select inter-library transactions.

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Users will still get a date to return an item, which will automatically renew twice unless someone has a hold on the item. But, there's no fine for being late.

The new policy was included on the NPL website with this statement: By taking this step, the library is joining a growing national movement among public libraries to remove a major barrier to library use. Research shows that not only are overdue fines ineffective incentives for returning items, but are also a barrier to using the library for some of the city’s most underserved populations. This includes low-income families, which library staff confirmed by speaking to community members.

As someone who has always returned library items on time or earlier, and never paid a late fee, I wonder if this new policy will be effective, and if it will remain in effect long term. It seems there will be no incentive for people to return items when others are waiting, which would then decrease rather than increase library use from frustrated folks on a hold/waiting list.

Your turn — Does your local library impose fines for late or overdue items?

In other Nashua, NH goings on, the new arts center in downtown is nearing completion after more than two years. It's been under construction on Main St. We've watched the progress of the outer structure over these many months as it is a rather prominent structure.
Nashua Center for the Arts during construction phases
Soon we will see the completed interior. The Nashua Center for the Arts will have a grand opening event called, The Nashua Celebration of the Arts, showcasing artists from across the performing arts scene in NH. There's a cost of $15 per person to attend. We've already pre-ordered tickets online along with several fellow residents.
Exterior construction as of January 2023
The completed arts center will host an April 1 grand opening event, The Nashua Celebration of the Arts, which will showcase artists from across the performing arts scene in NH. No specific information has been provided on the website as to performances. This is not a Free event with a cost of $15 each to attend. We've pre-ordered tickets along with several fellow residents. Performances have been scheduled from June to October. Details will follow after the opening. 
As always, the views from our 5th floor apartment window continue to be amazing. This scene was captured a week ago as early morning clouds reflected in a still Nashua River. As you can see, there was a bit of snow cover, most of which is gone as of this week.

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Nothing Lasts Forever — in case you missed it, mailing a 1st class letter ✉️, like Valentine's Day cards, will cost more as effective Sunday, Jan 22, the cost of USPS first-class postage hiked 3 cents, 60 to 63 cents. 

There's More — 1st class Forever stamp increase aside, international letters and postcards went from $1.40 to $1.45, one-ounce, metered mail increased 57 cents to 60 cents, the price for domestic postcards went from 45 cents to 48 cents.😱

There's some good news, the price of Priority Mail retail products, including flat rate boxes and envelopes, went down. No price increases were made for Parcel Select Ground, single-piece letters or flat additional-ounce prices.

Buy Forever Stamps Before July 2023 — Why? they're always valid and, if bought before prices go up (again), can be used to mail 1 oz. domestic letters. Price adjustments are forecast for 2X annually, the USPS expects to implement price changes in January and July. Glad to have stockpiled some at only 60 cents 😉 and was using ones bought when the cost was 58 cents.

And, now you know to get letters and cards out sooner rather than later.


Bijoux said...

Our county library system also did away with fines a year ago to celebrate their 100th birthday. However, if you don’t return an item 21 days past due, you are charged a replacement fee. If returned, you don’t have to pay the fee.

Personally, I’m not a fan of this. I often order books that are best sellers or recently published and if people are constantly returning them late, it just slows down the circulation of those items, which doesn’t seem fair to the rest of us.

MadSnapper said...

your view is gorgeous and I like that reflection, it looks like the sky is on the side of the photo not the top. I don't agree with no fines because when I used the library i waited and waited for people to bring back the next favoirite author. if they can keep it without a fine, the people waiting will be out of luck.
its not the fines making people not go there its the reading on line apps, the kindles like i use and I borrow books but download them. with that they take it back after two weeks, they can't do that with a book.
the world has gone tech is the problem.
Also the reason I went kindle is my eyesight, could no long read the prints books. even the large print books were and are a strain of the eyes. I am old, the readers of the world are aging and the younger people don't read like we did.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

I haven't "checked out" the no fine policy at our public library yet. I will have to do that. Haven't been there in a while, but I need to get back into reading more. I'm not sure if that is a good new policy or not...people will have no incentive to turn their books back in on time and others will have to wait forever. I hope they will be able to give some other incentives for people becoming good stewards of the books they use so freely, although I believe most people are responsible about the wonderful asset of having free public library. I enjoyed your other pictures. I'm glad you are enjoying a nice winter! It feels like spring here already, but this is Florida. have a blessed February!

Buttercup said...

The New York Public Library abolished fines last year (or 2021?). Mostly my books borrowed are virtual and they automatically vanish from my Kindle. One of my projects today is a visit to my local branch to donate books for their book sale.

Love your river photo!

Jeanie said...

So far I don't use my library much but I have a feeling I will soon. So I don't know about abolished fines but I think it's a great idea.

Vee said...

At those prices, I predict mailing cards and letters will decrease. I didn't send my grandsons birthday cards this year for example.

A few years ago, I was shocked to discover an overdue book. It was not mine; it was my first husband's. I figure it would cost a fortune to pay the debt so here it sits. What would you do?

Vee said...

My daughter-in-law is one of the town's librarians so I know for a fact that fines are still in effect. My littles will be visiting there today. They love the library.

DUTA said...

Libraries and bookshops are struggling. Reading is not what it used to be, and all kinds of methods are used to improve things and prevent closure.

Sandra said...

I only use the ebooks and don't have a clue if there are late fees. Your river view is beautiful, I wouldn't mind seeing that everyday.

gigi-hawaii said...

I don't use the public library, preferring to buy my books. I am glad you were able to buy tickets to the concert. Post a review, will you?

CrystalChick said...

When I was reading more (years ago) I tended to purchase books. I'd try to find discounted ones. Over the years, I've donated hundreds of books.
I haven't been to our local library in many years. According to their page, the grace period is 8 days for late returns. After that, 10 cents per day (charged from the original due date) is the fee.

You do have a great view from your apartment!!

photowannabe said...

So many libraries are struggling, our local one included.
No fines, to me will only make people feel like they are getting free books to add to their collection.
It's part of the " new way of thinking"..Equality in everything and for ALL..Life really isn't like that. Everyone doesn't deserve a trophy!
Ok I will get off my responsibility...etc.
Thanks for the postal info. I need to stock up on stamps now.
We sell on eBay and the shipping costs really kill us. People want the items but don't want to pay for the postage (as it constantly goes up)
Love the view from your apartment so much. That reflection is awesome.

Rita said...

You said exactly what I was thinking:
"It seems there will be no incentive for people to return items when others are waiting, which would then decrease rather than increase library use from frustrated folks on a hold/waiting list."

Have a blast at the new art center opening event!

Yes, I will definitely have to stock up on some more forever stamps! Have a good day. :)

Nil @ The Little House by the Lake said...

I don't even know if our library imposes a fine! I need to check. :)

I usually return books within 2 weeks, so I never thought about it.

nick said...

Belfast libraries have also abolished fines. Not that it affects me since I always return books promptly. As Bijoux says, people who regularly return books late are an annoyance to people waiting for the book in question.
Your first class postage is much cheaper than ours, which is 95p ($1.20). Which just encourages people to use email instead.

William Kendall said...

Our city library did away with late fees some years ago.

Latane Barton said...

I love going to the library to get new books to read.... BUT..... I hate taking them back and will let them get overdue for days, sometimes weeks. I'd like the no fine thing.

Emma Springfield said...

I miss going to the library. Now I buy books for my Kindle. It is not as comforting as a real book but it gives me unlimited choices just like the library.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

The library here is also fine free. Your river view is outstanding.
Thank you for the postage news! I will stock up on forever stamps.

My name is Erika. said...

That performing arts center will be great to have. I hope you write a post about what you see when you go in April. Hope you stay warm at the end of the week. hugs-Erika

L. D. said...

We have a new library and I just haven't made it there yet. I like seeing buildings in progress.

acorn hollow said...

No fines either in our little library but if you would like to donate there is a jar for that.
Should be interesting to see what they bring to the arts center.
I mailed something today and it seems very expensive.
stay warm

Red said...

Our library has gone to no fines. As a forgetful old guy, I like it. As a former library board member, it just makes sense.

Brenda said...

Our mail is delivered free. We mail items that go to others. How on earth can we complain about the price of a stamp?

David M. Gascoigne, said...

The elimination of library fines seems to be universal. I can lay claim to few virtues but one of them is to always ensure that my loans from the library are returned on time - usually well ahead of time. There - I shall feel smug all day!

Anvilcloud said...

That is quite a leap, and I can see problems with it, but I am sure that they have been considered.

The new center looks good — so far anyway.

David said...

Hi Beatrice, I don't know if our library charges late fees or not as we buy our books...and eventually donate them to the library. My wife reads a lot! Our open planned community funded the building of a branch of the county library on the fringe of the 'village' that is open to everyone. That new Nashua Arts Center looks great and should be the source of many entertaining and cultural experiences for you. Your view is really lovely. We don't have good view of our lake except during late fall into early spring. As a stamp collector myself, I've acquired old stamps for free from folks so most of my mailings are a combination of those stamps if the envelope is large enough...or I use a postcard stamp plus some old low denomination stamps. We have ceased sending out most birthday cards and all but a few Christmas cards, using the Internet instead. The Post Office is a good example of government's inability to manage effectively. In my last post you had commented on the variety of cars that used to exist. In actuality over 3,000 auto 'brands' have produced cars in the USA...most of them in the first 20 - 25 years of the 20th century. By the end of the Great Depression, only 8 automakers existed in the USA. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Rob Lenihan said...

The Brooklyn Public Library does not assess daily late fines--like they did when I was growing up--but they due issue fees to patrons "who have not returned library material by a determined grace period after the due date," according to their website.

The arts center sounds exciting. Please do keep us informed.

Beautiful photo of the Nashua River. You should submit it to a photography contest or share with a local TV stations, assuming they're looking for photos.

And thanks for the tip on the stamps. I dislike e-cards, but the cost of postage may just change my mind.