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The board of trustees of the Kilbourn Public Library discussed the possibility of going fine free in 2019 at its regular monthly meeting on August 2.

The library collected $10,223 in fines and fees in 2016 and $10,033 in 2017. To date, the library has collected $5,457 in 2018, and has a projected budget of $12,000 for 2018 and 2019 in fines and fees.

The money collected from fines and fees is used to pay bills, such as utilities; however, the board of trustees has proposed to completely eliminate fines and fees in 2019.

“The library as a whole is looking at moving away from fines,” said Cathy Borck, Kilbourn Public Library director. “It’s a matter of inclusion and making sure we aren’t negatively affecting people with less income. Those are the people who need to use the library the most since they don’t have books or computers at home. We don’t want fines to keep those people away.”

Trustees discussed the possibility of a fine-free trial period of one year to study the results or to keep the fine system and do a monthly amnesty week where those with overdue items can return them without incurring penalties.

In addition, trustees discussed the need to erase any library debts older than 10 years old before migrating to the proposed new fine-free system.

“Before migrating to the new system, we should wipe out bad debt instead of carrying it into the new system,” Borck said. “It makes for a bad relationship and it goes against the mission of the library.”

The fine-free proposition was tabled for further discussion, but discussions will resume at the next monthly meeting on Sept. 6, and a final decision is expected then.

Monthly statistics

Door count: 8866

Computer users: 714

Wireless users: 311 users/1783 sessions (data available only for July 1-10)

Circulation: 6335

Bookmobile circulation: 440

Scheduled activities

The book club is reading Happily Ever After Everyone Else by Mary Leary Becker and Diane St Syr Janelle who will be joining the book club via Skype on August 27 and 29.

In addition, the library hosts Imagination Station workshops every Wednesday through August 15 where kids can attend a free art class. However, registration is required and limited to the first 20 people. Sign-up is available at the library front desk or by calling 608-254-2146.

The library is hosting the following Saturday programs: Lego day on August 11, end of summer reading finale on August 18, and watercolor painting on August 25.

On Mondays, the library also hosts activities at Frank Fischer Events from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., including, giant color by number, Yahtzee, a writing workshop, a sunflower craft, Scrabble, cards, and on August 20th, a book discussion and movie for The Leisure Seeker.

Follow Belen Markovich on Twitter @belen_markovich or contact her at 608-847-7341 ext. 233.