Daniel Boone Regional Library does not believe in late fees

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COLUMBIA - Most libraries charge users extra money for not returning books. But, Daniel Boone Regional Library (DBRL) goes by the philosophy that borrowers should not be charged for being late. 

DBRL serves Boone and Callaway Counties and the city of Columbia. Its staff is not required to charge late fees to users, but Circulation and Outreach Manager Patrick Finney says this actually benefits the library and the decision not to charge late fines was made decades ago. 

"One of the benefits of not charging the late fees is that we do remove that barrier that some people if they have, think they have, a late fee will actually avoid the library and will actually keep the book rather than facing what they think may be a bill," Finney said.

Although public libraries are funded by the community through a combination of local, state, and federal dollars, one member of the community said she does not mind paying for it. 

"I'm paying for those books that don't get returned because, you know, I am a taxpayer. But there are a lot of people that don't get it until they are older, maybe there are circumstances that they leave town quickly and they find it later," Columbia resident Nancy Russell said. "I did have to pay for a book one time and when I say have to, I did pay because I felt like I should." that could potentially not be returned but some members thinks not having a fee is a good thing. 

"The most important thing is that we aren't getting fined, for the late books or anything like that, and I think that's a very good quality for the public library." Columbia resident Randall Williams said. 

The Columbia Public Library hasn't done any analysis on tracking overdue items as a whole and it will consider a book a total loss after it's been checked out for two years or more. 

KOMU 8 News contacted a public library in a similarly-sized college town as Columbia for context. In Lawrence, Kansas, the Lawrence Public Library said it does charge 15 cents for every day a book is overdue and its total yearly amount in overdue fees and lost or damaged books amounted to about $150,000. 

Finney says that, although DBRL does not charge for late fees, it will send out reminder notices for overdue books. If for any reason there is an outstanding charge, then the borrower will be responsible for collection charges. 

According to 2014 statistics, DBRL has approximately 566,557 items in its collection.

The graphic below shows area libraries had items checked out 2,237,221 times in 2014.

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