To the Editor:

Have you heard the good news?

The Bethel Library has joined the growing ranks of public libraries throughout the U.S. that have eliminated overdue fines for their patrons.

Multiple studies have shown that such fines, while contributing needed funds to the operating budget, can also create a barrier to the most important mission of public libraries: providing free and equitable access to information for all citizens.

Last year, the American Library Association passed a resolution urging libraries to move towards eliminating overdue fines and seeking alternative sources of funding “so they are not dependent on monetary fines as a necessary source of revenue.”

Although the Bethel Library operates on a small budget, the Board of Trustees agreed that eliminating fines was an important step in making library materials available to all and encouraging wider use of all of the library’s resources.

As for how to make up for the lost revenue, here are several ways in which you can help:

We are currently in the midst of our 2019-20 Annual Fund drive, with about $3,500 still to go to reach this year’s goal of $13,500. We welcome your donation of any amount, which can be mailed to The Bethel Library Association, PO Box 130, Bethel, ME 04217, or dropped off at the library.

Raffle tickets for a unique and stunning quilt created by library trustee Donna Gillis will go on sale soon, and will be available throughout the summer, until the raffle is held at Harvestfest on September 19. Come see the quilt on display at the library!

And even though the library no longer charges fines, please feel free to drop a contribution in the donation jar at the circulation desk.

Amy Wight Chapman
for the Trustees 

Bethel Library

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