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General Circulation Documentation: Large Fine Accruals

Procedures, forms and templates, circulation statistics and policies, & legacy documentation

Patrons with Large Fine Accruals

Policy to limit fine levels and bar patrons until resolved

The Heard Library policy is to use fines to reinforce the collaborative nature of the use of our resources, not to generate revenue.  Recall fines are steep, and come into play only when another patron has requested to use material charged out by another.  Highly sought resources such as laptops and tablets need to be available for all to use, and fines for non-return of those materials are high for that reason.

The libraries will put in place procedures to identify patrons with overdue items that would incur charges in excess of $100 per item, and will attempt to contact any patron in that category, to bring to their attention the level of fines they have accrued.

Because we have routinely experienced patrons who ignore library emails and phone messages, it is unfortunately the case that patrons can and do accrue hundreds of dollars of fines before we are aware of the situation.

The library policy shall be that procedures will be established to cap fine accrual at $250 (cumulative), at which time the patron will be barred from any further borrowing until the items are returned or the bill is paid. 

Bills for non-returned items may still exceed $250 (cumulative) but the intention of the $250 threshold is to establish a point at which the patron must contact us and resolve the problem.

When the patron is a Vanderbilt student, the following steps will also be taken when the $250 threshold is enforced:

  • The student will be a referred to the Student Conduct office, which will work with them to help the student understand the issues and work on changing behavior.
  • With an agreed upon plan from the Student Conduct office, and resolution of the fines owed, the student’s borrowing privileges will be restored.
  • If there is a second event that triggers the $250 threshold, another referral to Student Conduct will occur and a more rigorous plan to modify their behavior may be required.  Restoration of borrowing privileges may be limited in scope.