Johnston County Affiliated Libraries Close the Chapter on Overdue Fees
As of July 1, 2022, the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield (PLJCS), along with its affiliated libraries, became “fine-free” for our Johnston County library patrons! This means that patrons will no longer be assigned fees for overdue materials!
As part of this new initiative, Johnston County Affiliated Libraries also erased all past overdue fines on patron accounts. This does not include previous fees for lost or damaged items.
By eliminating overdue fines, PLJCS aims to re-engage patrons who have stopped utilizing the Library due to outstanding overdue fees, provide more effective methods to encourage the return of library items (however late they may be), and use staff time and resources in more effective ways that best serve Johnston County residents. This change is a part of an institutional movement from libraries state and nationwide that have been guided by the recommendations of the American Library Association in an effort to increase free public access to library services.
PLJCS Library Director Johnnie Pippin believes this is a new chapter in the library’s overall vision. “We want to remove barriers and make library access easier, equitable, and enjoyable for the residents of Johnston County, not block individuals from utilizing the library. This initiative is about focusing on recovery of our materials, not charging punitive monetary fines. The hope is that anyone who stopped using our wonderful library will come back and take advantage of our great services.”
Going fine free is not a new initiative for PLJCS. Over the years, the Library initiated programs whereby patrons could reduce or eliminate fees for overdue materials by donating canned food to local charities. Also, PLJCS has been a part of a student access program that allows all Johnston County students, teachers, and administration to use their student ID number to utilize online resources as well as allow physical items to check out without applying overdue fees.
Borrowed material will continue to have due dates, and patrons will receive notices when their materials are due to be returned. There will be the added measure of two automatic renewals if there are no holds. If an item is not returned within its designated timeframe, or is returned damaged, then patrons will still be charged for lost or damaged items.
Patrons can return items to any NC Cardinal member library.
PLJCS Installs Smart Lockers:
24/7 Pickup of Materials Now Available
Unlock your next read! A self-service smart locker system has been installed inside the library lobby. It features 38 locker compartments and is designed to enhance library services by providing 24/7/365 access to books and other materials.
When placing a hold using the library catalog, select Smithfield Locker as your pickup location to have your items placed in the locker. You will receive a notification text or email when your items are ready, and you will have 3 days to pick them up.
The new locker system is available to any patron with a valid NC Cardinal library card or Student Access account. Simply scan your library card or manually key your card number or PowerSchool number into the locker kiosk to pick up your items.
Photo courtesy of The Smithfield Weekly Sun. (L-R): Technology Coordinator, Dustin Mobley; Head Reference Librarian, Katie Guthrie; Library Director, Johnnie Pippin; Board of Trustees Vice-Chairperson Terri Lee; and Board of Trustees Chairperson, Megan Shaner.
The holdings locker system was made possible by funding from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-250229-OLS21).