Hills­dale’s Mossey Library. External Affairs | Courtesy

Mossey Library patrons are now respon­sible for replacing overdue items, instead of paying small late fees.

As of July 1, 2020, the library will no longer charge overdue fines for any­thing but reserves, which will remain $1 per hour. 

Items will now be con­sidered lost after a 21-day period. Instead of issuing a late fee, bor­rowers will be respon­sible for replacement. The library will charge a flat replacement fee of $75 and a pro­cessing fee of $25. The $75 charge may be dropped if the item is returned. 

Library Director Maurine McCourry said her staff imple­mented the policy change in an attempt to better serve Hillsdale stu­dents and streamline the business side of library affairs. 

 “By elim­i­nating overdue fines, stu­dents no longer have to waste time trying to pay the library, and library staff no longer have to deal with money,” McCourry said. “In part, this change was facil­i­tated by the new copiers. Since we elim­i­nated the sale of copy cards, the only money library staff handled was related to fines. By elim­i­nating fines, and sending all bills to the business office for col­lection, the library no longer has to handle money.”

McCourry said all pay­ments under the new policy will be handled by the business office, and any holds on a student’s account due to library charges will be handled the same way as other college charges.

 “We also felt that we had to emphasize the impor­tance of keeping the library’s col­lec­tions intact,” McCourry said.

The library expects to see pos­itive responses from the com­munity as a result of the policy change. 

“We are hoping that stu­dents appre­ciate the elim­i­nation of fines and that they under­stand the need to streamline processes and increase the charges for lost mate­rials,” McCourry said. “Pur­chasing and pro­cessing mate­rials for the library involves a lot of people and sup­plies, and some mate­rials simply can’t be replaced. We feel an oblig­ation to pre­serve the col­lec­tions for future use, and thus feel that we have to take loss of material very seri­ously.”

Student library employees, like Senior Natasha De Vergilio, said they appre­ciate the new policy. 

I think the stream­lined approach of having fines handled by the business office will be helpful,” De Vergilio said. “It’s always nice to have every­thing in the same place and main­taining the cash drawer for fines was likely more work than it was worth.”

She added that the “shock value” of a $100 fine would hope­fully remind patrons to respect the library col­lection. 

“The librarians do a lot of work to update and maintain our col­lec­tions and the time they used to spend tracking down overdue and missing books as patrons’ fines con­tinued to rack up can now be put to better use improving the library and its ser­vices,” she said. 

Hillsdale College Pro­fessor of Phi­losophy Ian Church said he believes the change in policy is both fair and ben­e­ficial. 

“Espe­cially given all the avenues oppor­tu­nities people have to return books, it seems rea­sonable to me.”