Members of the library board of trustees unanimously approved making the library “Fine Free” effective Oct. 1. Now, library patrons will no longer be charged fees for late return of Plymouth Library books, movies and other materials. Existing late fees on borrower accounts will also be cleared, in an effort to make the library more accessible to the entire community explained Library Director Shauna Anderson. Patrons will, however, still be responsible for replacement fees for items lost or damaged.
Going fine-free is a change that is being made by public libraries across the country and across Metro Detroit, Anderson said, and has become increasingly appealing to libraries because late fees present a barrier to access that disproportionately affects low-income households and often stands between eager minds and reading materials.
“Libraries are intrinsically about equitable access to knowledge,” said Anderson. “We are so pleased that the library board was supportive of this proposed change so we can welcome back the entire community and not leave anyone out.”
In another move toward unrestricted access, the library is also introducing free computer printouts of up to 10 pages per day, and this summer introduced new low vision activity kits. Available quarterly, these kits help introduce a fun activity in an accessible way, including special accommodations or tips for how to make the experience low-vision-friendly. Funding assistance for the kits was provided by the Library Access Friends which provided the kits planned for fall and winter. The theme for the fall kit is backyard birding: inside is everything needed to create a backyard birdfeeder, including detailed instructions and information on birding with low vision. The kits are now available and those interested persons can obtain one while supplies last at the Main Level Reader's Advisory Desk or at the Plymouth Friendship Station Senior Center. The December library newsletter will list pickup dates for the winter kit, which will focus on baking with low vision.
The library also now offers two new hands-on resources: Lerner Maker Lab and Creativebug, introduced this month for use by library cardholders. These two tools provide a wealth of opportunity for self-paced growth and exploration. Creativity and learning are set to take off to new heights, library officials said.
Lerner Maker Lab provides more than 500 age-appropriate science, technology, engineering, art and math (S.T.E.A.M.) projects with complete instructions and supply lists to get young (or old) explorers started. Projects include arts and crafts, physics and biology experiments, building projects, and cooking. Lerner Maker Lab invites kids to “craft, build, experiment, eat and celebrate” hands-on learning.
Creativebug has thousands of award-winning art and craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists. These classes can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere patrons have web access, library officials explained. The classes never expire, so crafters can start and stop projects at their own pace. Creativebug also offers a gallery where makers can share their creations with the crafting community, as well as hundreds of 30-day prompts to encourage creators development of a daily practice.
“We are excited to hear how our patrons are exploring with these new tools,” said Mary Kelly, electronic services librarian. “Lerner Maker Lab and Creativebug are treasure troves; it's just incredible how much opportunity can be packed into one click of a mouse.”
The addition of these new tools is one of many ways the Plymouth District Library is acting on its strategic goal of engaging patrons with services that extend beyond books, Kelly added. To access the new resources, visit plymouthlibrary.org. More information about these changes can be found at plymouthlibrary.org.
The library is located at 223 S Main St. Plymouth. For more information, call (734) 453-0750.