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Burlington Public Library Expands Fine-Free Program to All Burlington-Owned Items
Effective April 1, 2021, the Burlington Public Library will no longer assess fines for overdue items. In doing this, Burlington joins more than half of the libraries in Wisconsin who have eliminated fines for all users.
Will people still return the books if there are no fines?
Yes! Surveys and statistics from libraries around the state and the country show that people return library books not because they’ll be fined, but because they feel an obligation to do right by other users. However, fines do dissuade people from coming back. They lack the funds to pay, feel stigmatized, or make the decision to rent or purchase digital items at low-cost rather than pay an eventual fine. We believe that libraries contribute to a strong community, and that barriers to access hinder that.
I didn’t mind paying my fines. I felt good about contributing to the library.
That is a common sentiment. The good news is, the library will still be happy to take your donation. The better news is that people on fixed or limited incomes can now also feel good about the library.
Doesn’t the Library need the fine revenue to operate?
Libraries aren’t financed primarily by fine revenue. In 2019, fine revenue was less than 1% of our total operating budget. And we don’t feel good where we have to make decisions about waiving or enforcing fines based on budgetary considerations, rather than the individual situation of the patron.
I accrued some fines a few years ago. Do I still have to pay those?
Probably not. We cleared old overdue fines on Burlington-owned items for our patrons. We want people to come and use their library more than we want them to pay for that VHS tape that slid under their car seat in 2012 and didn’t re-emerge until mid-2013. (True story.)
If you’re not sure if you still have fines on your account, or if you do still have overdue fines and want to see if there’s a way that they can be cleared, please call the library.
Are there any caveats?
Why, yes there are!
Update – 4/1/2022
In keeping with recommendations from the CDC and the Racine County Public Health Department, mask use is currently optional for everyone. Curbside pickup and remote reference services remain available to all users.
The library is conducting in-person public programs and events. Persons feeling ill with COVID-like symptoms are recommended not to visit the library, but may feel free to call or email for assistance.
Update – 9/9/2021
In keeping with recommendations from the CDC and the Central Racine County Health Department, mask use is required for unvaccinated persons but recommended for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. Curbside pickup and remote reference services remain available to all users.
The library is conducting in-person public programs with reduced capacities. Persons feeling ill with COVID-like symptoms should not visit the library, but may feel free to call or email for assistance.
Update – 4/28/2021
The library has relaxed our requirement for appointments to use facilities. Library patrons are still required to wear masks and are expected to maintain social distancing. The number of available computers is still limited, so waits are possible. Seating also remains limited.
Per recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the library has discontinued our one-day quarantine of patron-handled items. Newspaper subscriptions have been resumed.
Patrons who cannot mask may still access library services through our curbside pick-up service, which remains active, and by logging into the library wi-fi from the parking lot.
Update – 2/10/2021:
Use of the Library building by appointment (including walk-in appointments) will resume on Monday, March 1. Curbside pick-up service will continue for the foreseeable future.
Update – 11/23/2020:
Burlington Public Library, along with all City of Burlington buildings, is closed to the public until further notice. Curbside Pick-up, virtual reference and programming, and outside book drops will remain available during regular library hours.
Update – 11/6/2020:
Burlington Public Library has reopened to the public as of Friday, November 6. Holds that were accrued during the closure will be available through Monday, November 9.
The library is still using walk-in appointments for computers and browsing to manage the total number of people in the building at one time, but we are open for business and happy to serve. Curbside and digital resources also remain available. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the library.
Update – 10/28/2020:
Several library staff were in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, the library will be closed until Friday, November 6 while affected staff complete their quarantine period. No library services will be offered during this time. However, the secure ballot dropbox will still be accessible via the Jefferson Street entrance.
All due dates for materials have been extended through the closure, and the pick-up date for reserved items has been moved to November 9. Items returned during this closure will be quarantined and may not be checked in until staff are available. However, all returns will be backdated (so no fines will accrue.)
If you need to use a computer or receive other library services, the closest libraries are in Rochester, Waterford, and Lake Geneva. If you have questions, free free to call or email the library.
Update – 8/19/2020:
The library is open to the public 64 hours per week, but we use appointments to control capacity within the narrower areas of the library, including at our front desk and entryway. Please don’t let that stop you from coming. We miss the public and we’ll be eager to see you when you arrive.
Please note that if you do not have a mask, we’ll be happy to give one to you.
Please note that at the recommendation of the Wisconsin Public Library Development Team, we have extended the quarantine on all returned materials to 4 days from the date of return. Returned items will be backdated to their date of return when they are checked in after quarantine.
Update – 6/18/2020:
Update – 6/15/2020:
Starting today, the library is open by appointment for computer usage and browsing the collection during our regular hours. Please call 262-342-1130 to schedule an appointment.
To control occupancy within the space and allow time for cleaning/disinfecting, there are a limited number of openings available at each time. All of our virtual and curbside services will remain available at this time.
These services remain unavailable:
The library will be open for curbside pick-up from noon to 4pm on Saturday. We’ll begin offering appointments for computer usage and browsing next week.
Update – 6/8/2020:
As of today, patrons can now place holds on materials from any library for pickup at the Burlington Library. Please note that interlibrary delivery will be slowed due to materials quarantines along the way.
We are still waiting for our plexiglass barriers to be installed. Once that has happened, we will be opening up computer and browsing to the public by appointment.
While we’re closed, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to rearrange some parts of the Children’s collection. We can’t wait to show you the new setup!
Update – 5/14/2020:
For the time being, Burlington Public Library will continue to offer:
Once appropriate transparent barriers are installed (after Memorial Day), we will resume limited-duration in-person computer appointments and will expand our curbside pickup service to our full daily hours of operation. We will also be debuting new software to allow a safe, socially-distanced Summer Reading Program for all ages.
We want to reopen, but we need to do it safely. In addition to the guidance of the Rebound Racine report, WEDC recommendations, and advice of the Central Racine County Health Department, the Library will also be utilizing the Guidelines for Reopening Wisconsin Libraries developed by the Department of Public Instruction in collaboration with libraries around the state to ensure safe service to the public as we reopen.
As new services become available, we will publish information about them here.
Update – 4/23/2020:
Curbside Holds Pick-Up
Curbside Pick-Up for Holds begins on Saturday, April 25.
Library Communication Center
The library has added additional communications channels to make it easier to get in touch with us, as well as changing how we offer some others.
Materials & Returns
The library is doing daily programming via our Facebook page. Below is this week’s schedule of events.
Update – 4/21/2020:
Our monthly BookPage book preview magazine is available below. The May issue will be delayed until late May.
Update – 4/19/2020:
Update – 4/2/2020:
Overdrive/Libby has made the e-book and audiobook of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone available for free for the month of April.
Update – 3/31/2020:
Due dates for all materials in the SHARE consortium have been moved to May 15, 2020, and will be moved again if there is any extension of the Safer at Home order. All materials will be due two weeks after we reopen.
Update – 3/30/2020:
Check out our virtual programs via the Burlington Library Facebook page.
Update – 3/29/2020:
Jen answers some frequently asked questions about the library during the present closure.
Update – 3/24/2020:
Library wi-fi (bplpatronnet) is accessible from the library parking lot 24 hours a day. Park next to the building (to the left of the ramp on Jefferson St.) for best reception.
Update – 3/23/2020:
In response to the pending safer-at-home order for all Wisconsinites, Burlington Library will be suspending curbside holds pickup beginning on Tuesday, March 24. Library book-drops will also be closed, and all due dates will be extended until we reopen. You can still get to all of our digital resources via http://www.burlingtonlibrary.org
Update – 3/16/2020:
Registering for a FREE Digital Library Card
Update – 3/14/2020:
The safety of our patrons and employees is a priority to Burlington Public Library (BPL). We are working to stay on top of this evolving COVID-19 situation by following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, WI Department of Health Services, and the Central Racine County Health Department.
Our current plan is to: 1) prioritize the safety and health of our staff and patrons; 2) continue serving your library needs for the time being; 3) plan ahead for changing circumstances.
What can you do?
Wash your hands. Cough into your elbow. Stay home if sick.
According to the most recent information from the CDC, for most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. We encourage any concerned patrons, especially those in high-risk populations, to stay home if they are feeling ill or are simply concerned about potential exposure.
Please keep in mind, as a public space, the Library cannot guarantee a germ-free environment or germ-free physical materials. You need to consider if using library materials, or visiting the Library or other public spaces, is best for you and your family. As a reminder, the Library has many digital services available to you for free; check out our collections at https://www.burlingtonlibrary.org/resources/
What is Burlington Public Library doing?
Library Cleaning: We want you to feel confident visiting BPL. We contract with an outside cleaning company which cleans the library three times per week. In addition, library staff have developed a schedule of disinfectant wipe-downs of high-traffic areas like counters, door handles, light switches, keyboards, tables, etc.
Library Materials Cleaning: Collection materials are not disinfected when they are checked-in or as they are browsed or used in-house due to limited resources and supplies.
Staff and Patron Hygiene: While supplies last, we are making hand sanitizer and wipes available to staff and patrons, plus we are encouraging frequent hand-washing by everyone.
Library Services: We are developing staffing and service models should we need to reduce services.
Next Steps: We are monitoring this developing situation closely, staying up-to-date on info from federal agencies, health organizations, and other experts.
We will continue to communicate any further impacts to BPL. Thank you for working with us to keep BPL a healthy environment.
Have a safe and wonderful day,
Joe Davies MLIS, MA
Instantly borrow eBooks, audiobooks, comics, music, movies & TV – 24/7 and FREE on your phone or tablet using your library card. Six formats all in one app for a simple to use multimedia content experience! Your items return automatically and never garner late fees.
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