That's right! We will no longer charge Ela cardholders late fees. All late fees have been waived for our materials. Please note, if you lose materials or return items with damage, you'll still need to pay the replacement cost.
Why are we eliminating late fees?
Creating financial barriers to using the Library is counterproductive. We want to encourage more use, not discourage it. We think there are better ways of encouraging people to return items on time than to threaten them with financial penalties. After all, you're already paying for library access through your property taxes. Why should you owe us more money?
Isn't this a good source of revenue for the Library?
Overall, late fees contribute about 1% of our operating revenue. Late fees have long been used as a means of encouraging users to return materials. We are fortunate that this revenue isn't critical to our operation. We have a plan to encourage returns without adding a financial penalty.
How will we encourage users to return materials?
When an item is overdue by 14 days, the patron's account will be suspended from borrowing additional materials until the overdue item is returned. No more new checkouts until the overdue item is returned. Instead of a $10 fine threshold being the block, it will be the 14 day overdue threshold. We think this is better than worrying about a late fee.
Patrons will receive overdue notices at 7, 14 and 28 days overdue. When an item is more than 45 days overdue, we will turn over communication to a third party agency. We've been using this enforcement method for nearly 10 years, so it's pretty well established and has been very effective.
Late Notice Schedule
- 7 days late -- Late Notice Emailed or Mailed
- 14 days late -- No More New Checkouts Until Item is Returned
- 28 days late -- Printed Warning Sent
- 45 days late -- The Patron's Account is Sent to a Collection Agency
Will it affect the availability of items?
We continually monitor the availability of our materials. If the waiting list for an item is more than three weeks, we order additional copies. We will be extra diligent in monitoring availability as we implement this new policy. If we need additional copies of particular items, we will certainly acquire them. Our commitment is that you won't see a decrease in item availability.
There are several ways to manage your account so that materials do not become overdue and you can avoid collection:
- Renew library materials in person.
- Contact Checkout at 847.438.3433 x505.
- Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Renew online. Click on "My Account" to renew items 24/7.
- Renew through the Library's app. The Ela Library app is available as a free download for mobile users here.
- Sign up for email notification at Checkout. You will receive email notices for holds ready for pick up, and courtesy reminders for items on your account that will be due.