Santa Clara County libraries eliminate late fees, De Anza reconsiders fine system


New York City Library. New York 2005

Santa Clara County libraries eliminated all late fees on Jan. 5, while the De Anza College library has extended the due date for checked out books to April 16, waiving fine increases until campus reopens.

Wil Byars, senior library technician at De Anza, said that he is pushing to revise the current fine system. This follows the work of the 2018 Library Overdues Task Force, which eliminated fines for second floor items.

“We have a couple different ideas, one of which is a privilege point system,” Byars said. “The circulation area as well as some other folks in the library are looking into that and how to further reduce and eliminate fines.”

Byars said that they stopped fine increases temporarily during shutdown because they had to close so suddenly in the spring.

“Things that had been checked out but hadn’t already been declared lost when we closed down … stopped having fines accrued,” Byars said. “We essentially took on the responsibility [of] having those items in terms of when they get back to us.”

Students are grateful for this increased flexibility. Kim Tran, a 35-year-old phlebotomy major, said that she was happy that the library is working to accommodate for difficult financial times.

“I know a lot of people [who] are students and don’t go to work,” Tran said. “They don’t have the stimulus check, so I think it’s hard for them to go to school and pay fees.”

The De Anza library currently does not offer in-person services but advertises several online resources. Santa Clara County libraries are operating in person under limited hours.