AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Canyon Area Library is now a fine-free zone, in an effort to eliminate any barriers between the library and residents.
“The idea is to be as inviting as possible and to get as many people to come into the library and take advantage of the services,” said Jon Behrens, Interim City Manager for the City of Canyon. “Across the country, as fines are placed on people, sometimes that becomes a roadblock for them.”
This decision, by Canyon’s City Commission, eliminated a few thousand dollars worth of fines already on the books and will not charge residents in the future.
“A lot of times people just forget that they have an overdue book, it’s an honest mistake,” said Janice Doan, Director of the Canyon Area Library. “They eventually bring them back. We want to help eliminate those barriers and get as many patrons in the library as we can.”
Residents will still be charged for lost or damaged books.
If a book is more than 30 days overdue, it will be considered lost.
However, if it’s after 30 days and they bring the book back in good condition, there will not be a charge.
“In a fine free-zone, if they have that book and they haven’t lost it, it’s never too late to bring it back,” said Behrens. “It’s always a good time to bring that book and not have that small fee and be embarrassed by that.”
The library director says she has seen an increase of people coming to the library and hopes this initiative will allow residents to keep reading.
“If someone owes money, they could be embarrassed. We certainly don’t want that,” said Doan. “We want to help them come in, return their book, and check out another book.”
“People are not beating down the doors of library any longer,” said Behrens. “We need to find all the ways that we can to make libraries a vibrant and viable part of our communities. It is here in Canyon and we want it to stay that way.”
If you visit the library often or if you’d like to check it out for the first time, the Summer Reading Program for children and adults begins on June 3.