Read Down Fines Program Repeats at Libraries

St. Cloud, MN, December 2016:  “Read Down Your Fines” will take place Monday, Dec. 19 through Saturday, Dec. 31 at all 32 branches of the Great River Regional Library.

This event is for children and teens younger than 17 who are unable to borrow library materials because of outstanding fines. It gives them the opportunity to regain library privileges just by reading at the library.

Since the program began in 2013, 924 children have taken part. Individuals record time spent reading at the library on coupons available at the library desk. They are allowed to read materials of their choice, but it must be physical print materials such as a book or magazine. For each 15 minutes spent reading, they eliminate $1 in fines. Parents will be allowed to read down the fines of their young children by reading to them in the library. Procedures at each library may vary. Minors who want to read down their fines should speak with library staff.

Read Down can only be applied to fines for late return of materials. It can’t be applied to fines or processing fees for lost and damaged items. The program recognizes that children are not always at fault when materials are returned late. The program is also a response to research that says children who read often and are library users are more likely to be successful in the classroom.

Read Down Your Fines is totally paid for through public donations. The average fine paid off is approximately $5. An average of 24 branches have patrons taking part each time the program is offered.