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.”