Story has been updated to clarify the overdue fees total

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — As the Wichita City Council approved their budget for 2023 on Tuesday, included was the elimination of overdue fees at the Wichita Public Library.

“Effective Tuesday, August 23 by the end of the day, borrowers will not be charged overdue fines for Wichita Public Library materials,” the Wichita Public Library website said.

However, library users that do not return materials will be charged the cost of the item as well as a $7 processing fee.

Research shows that overdue fines are a barrier for people using the library.

“If a material is late, you know, 25 cents may not seem like that much to a lot of people, but to some, that’s a lot of money. And as it adds up, it becomes a huge barrier. So, we wanted to make sure that the library is accessible to as many people as possible,” said Sean Jones with the Wichita Public Library.

Jones said that as of Feb. 2022, overdue fees totaled more than $530,000. That makes up about 2% of the Library’s annual budget and 2.5% of the City’s revenue.

According to their website, past fines will be forgiven. Here’s the breakdown on their website:

  • Aug. 23: Moving forward, Wichita Public Library accounts will not accrue overdue fines. It’s important to return overdue materials, though. If materials are not returned within 30 days of the due date, you will be responsible for paying the cost to replace the material plus a $7 processing fee.
  • Aug. 24: Past overdue fines will be waived from accounts.
  • Sept. 26-Oct. 2: The Library will host an amnesty week for customers who have long overdue materials in their possession. They can bring them back and have material charges waived.

Amnesty Week, according to their website, gives patrons the opportunity to bring back “long overdue” library materials during business hours and have those fees waived.

“Our library is so much more than just books – it’s about having access to resources, learning and community,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple. “We want to ensure that our library remains accessible to everyone without any barriers.”

For more information, you can visit the library’s website by clicking here.