Providence Community Library (PCL) will eliminate overdue fines on all materials in its children's and young adult collections from June 25. Additionally, $37,000 in existing fines on juvenile cards will be waived on June 25, creating a clean slate for young library users, removing barriers to future borrowing and encouraging greater participation in library activities. Lost materials continue to be subject to replacement charge for the time being. PCL is also reducing overdue fines on DVD materials for adult cardholders from one dollar to twenty cents a day.
PCL's decision to eliminate fines on youth materials reflects a growing national trend in library policy. Cranston Public Library recently adopted a similar fine-free policy on juvenile materials and other Rhode Island public libraries are likely to follow. Professional library associations have growing evidence that library fines adversely affect young people; low-income families, in particular, are hit badly. 'Children with families unable to pay accrued fines eventually lose the right to borrow more books and may stop coming to the library altogether," said Cheryl Space, PCL's new Library Director. "Losing young readers because of fines goes against our mission as a library. We want children to feel welcome every time they come through our doors."
PCL's new fine-free policy goes into effect on the first day of Libraries ROCK!, this year's Summer Reading Program. PCL ‘s exciting schedule of summer kickoff parties, special events and entertainers help Providence students maintain their reading and numeracy skills and beat the "Summer Slide". PCL's website provides everything that families need to organize summer learning, including information about the City's Passport to Summer Learning and access to Providence Schools' recommended reading lists for all grades. Young readers can sign up with Providence READsquared to track their daily reading, earn points and collect badges for all their summer learning activities. The third year of PCL’s Mobile Library project,Summer Reading in the Schoolyard, funded by United Way, will hit the road on July 2 and end on August 24. The Big Red Bus will visit ten public elementary schools, providing books, access to technology and internet, games (including life-size board games) and math and literacy activities. Additionally, PCL will offer Ready for Kindergarten school readiness workshops in English and Spanish at all ten schools.
For more about PCL's Summer Reading Program, Mobile Library and other summer activities, visit www.provcomlib.org/summer.