Bradley Public Library is officially fine free as of September 1, 2021. Joining a growing number of libraries in Illinois and nationwide, we are no longer charging overdue fines on most materials checked out at the Bradley Library. The library Board of Trustees voted in favor of this policy change to help erase economic barriers to library use.

“The reality is that fines disproportionately affect lower income people who are often the ones that need our services the most,” says Jodie DePatis, Bradley Public Library Director.

“I have had several times where I tried to find a book in our honor book section to help a child whose parent had too many fines to check out a book,” says Youth Services Coordinator Allison Orvis. “While our honor books are a wonderful thing, children not getting to bring home the book that they really wanted from our shelves is disappointing.”

Going fine free doesn’t mean that patrons don’t have to bring their items back to the library. Items will still have a due date and materials will still need to be returned. Most materials can be renewed two times if no one else is waiting. Patrons will also receive several reminders to return checked out materials. If an item is not returned, or is returned damaged, patrons will still be responsible for replacement charges.

Libraries have traditionally viewed overdue fines as an incentive to return materials on time. Studies have shown that fines are not an effective incentive to return materials on time. Many libraries that have eliminated fines report higher rates of materials being returned and negligible increases in materials being returned late. Fine free libraries also report that more patrons return to the library, and they tend to check out more materials.

Unpaid overdue fines on Bradley Public Library materials for Bradley Public Library cardholders have been waived.