County libraries may stop assessing fines

Late fees could be a thing of the past if Johnson County library officials vote next month to eliminate them altogether.

The policy will be decided on jointly with Olathe Public Library officials.

During Thursday’s Johnson County Library board meeting, members were told the matter will be voted on April 13.

Jennifer Mahnken, associate director for systemwide services, said both pieces of the project elimination of fines moving forward and forgiving past fines will be brought forward for the vote.

Mahnken said accounts in bankruptcy or those with fines exceeding $600 would not be waived.

Elissa Andre, Johnson County Library external communications manager, said last week the policy would get rid of fines for late materials, but would not eliminate fees for lost or damaged items. Currently, fines are 30 cents per day for overdue items, and up to a maximum of $6 per item.

David Sims, Johnson County Library board chair, said if fines are eliminated, it will not significantly affect the bottom line “Our number-one priority as a board is to enable library access for our community,” he said. “The nationwide movement toward removing overdue fines shows some promising trends.”