Parents who steer clear of the library because they are afraid of fines their children might rack up from overdue books can stop worrying.
Beginning in 2013, there will be no more fines for kids and teens materials that are checked out by patrons under 17 years old. The new policy is being instituted to encourage reading and to break down barriers that might keep children out of the library.
“As part of Whatcom County Library System’s strategic planning process, we looked at ways to support children’s reading. We heard from parents who said that fear of incurring library fines was one barrier keeping them from getting library cards for their children. This policy change eliminates that barrier,” Joan Airoldi, WCLS director, said.
The new policy allows children to check out books without receiving overdue fines for untimely returns. Overdue notices will still be sent to families, and if the book is lost or damaged, they will still be responsible for the replacement cost.
“One of our primary focuses is on early learning,” Pamela Kiesner, director of the Bellingham Public Library, said. “We want to get library cards into as many children’s hands as possible, to start them on the path to lifelong learning.”
Studies show that children who have access to large numbers of books in the home achieve higher levels of education than those who do not.
Holiday closures for library system
The Whatcom County library system will be closed December 24 and 25 for the Christmas holiday.
All branches, the Bookmobile, and the administration and processing center will resume regularly scheduled hours on Wednesday, December 26.
To observe the New Year, all branches of WCLS will close at 5 p.m. Monday, December 31, and remain closed Tuesday, January 1. Regular hours will resume Wednesday, January 2.