The Galax-Carroll Regional Library has gone fine-free for one year in celebration of its 40th anniversary.

“Over the past several years, there has been a trend across the nation and in Virginia - in libraries large and small - to do away with the collection of overdue fines,” said a statement from the library system. “Going fine-free supports the fundamental mission of all libraries, which is to provide free and equal access to information and knowledge to all citizens. Fines often hurt those who need access to libraries most.”

The regional library board chose to remove this barrier to access for several reasons, as explained in the announcement – mainly to increase goodwill between the regional library and the communities it serves. “This will help support positive interactions between library patrons and staff.”

The regional library also hopes to see an increase in circulation and library users, and wants to “reconnect with borrowers who may still have items out and worry about returning to the library for service.”

Galax-Carroll Regional Library loan periods will remain the same, and due date slips will continue to be given upon checkout, and patrons will still be held accountable to pay for lost or damaged items.

Reminders about items checked out will still be sent to patrons, and outstanding items will block patrons' accounts from further borrowing or computer privileges until materials are returned or renewed.

Any materials borrowed from or returned for other libraries outside the Galax-Carroll Regional Library will still generate overdue fines according to the owning library’s policies.

Only Galax-Carroll Regional Library equipment is exempt from the Galax-Carroll Regional Library fine-free policy. Current fines will be investigated on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility to waive.

Head Librarian Trish Fore recently gave a presentation to Galax City Council about about the library's 2021 fiscal year.

She said that from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, the system had 37,381 visits, 75,591 items borrowed, 148 webinars attended, 413 fall and summer reading program participants, 7,382 reference questions answered, 1,383 Facebook followers, 212 Instagram followers, 16,590 borrowers, 457 new cards issued and 119,956 physical and e-items for patrons to have access to.

For more information, announcements and events celebrating the Galax-Carroll Regional Library’s 40th anniversary, consult the library’s website at galaxcarroll.lib.va.us/ and check the library’s Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.