NYLA Council Endorses the ALA Resolution on Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity

During their January 31, 2019 meeting, the NYLA Council endorsed the below ALA Resolution on Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity.

Whereas monetary fines present an economic barrier to access of library materials and services;

Whereas there is mounting evidence that indicates eliminating fines increases library card adoption and library usage;

Whereas monetary fines create a barrier in public relations, and absorb valuable staff time applying, collecting, and managing dues;

Whereas the first policy objective listed in ALA Policy B.8.10 (Library Services to the Poor) as approved by ALA Council on January 27, 2019, states that the American Library Association shall implement these objectives by “Promoting the removal of barriers to library and information services, particularly fees, and overdue charges”;

Whereas ALA Policy B.4.2 (Free Access to Information) “asserts that the charging of fees and levies for information services, including those services utilizing the latest information technology, is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions providing library and information services”;

Whereas in Economic Barriers to Information Access, An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, ALA states “All library policies and procedures, particularly those involving fines, fees, or other user charges, should be scrutinized for potential barriers to access;

Whereas libraries will need to take determined and pragmatic action to dismantle practices of collecting monetary fines

Whereas libraries of all types are responsive to bodies, be they school districts, boards of trustees, college and university administration, or government entities and therefore need to be able to make the case to those bodies about eliminating fines; and

Whereas monetary fines ultimately do not serve the core mission of the modern library; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members

  1. adds a statement to the Policy Manual that establishes that “The American Library Association asserts that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”;
  2. urges libraries to scrutinize their practices of imposing fines on library patrons and actively move towards eliminating them; and
  3. urges governing bodies of libraries to strengthen funding support for libraries so they are not dependent on monetary fines as a necessary source of revenue.