Eau Claire Library Goes Fee Free in New Year

Lauren Fisher

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire ushered in a new “fine free” policy with the New Year.  As of Jan. 1, the library no longer charges late fees for media returned past its due date, and all existing fines issued to library card holders have been forgiven. Libraries in Rice Lake and Augusta had previously taken measures to reduce or eliminate late fees, and in December and January the Chippewa Falls Public Library ran a program where children could read to pay off their fees. “The intention is to remove barriers that keep people from using the library,” said Pamela Westby, director of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. “We’re here to help people, regardless of their situation, and that includes their financial situation.” This measure will increase accessibility, help keep interactions between staff and patrons positive and friendly, and make for a more sustainable budget, according to Westby.

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