HOPKINS, Mich. (WOOD) — Beginning this year, patrons of Hopkins District Library will no longer be charged daily late fines.

“There’s been some research done by the American Library Association and various states that it doesn’t actually increase the number of books that are returned, it doesn’t increase the usage of the library, it actually decreases the amount of people that use the library to charge late fines,” Kevin Meyer, director of HDL, told News 8.

Late fines account for about .5% of the library’s annual revenue, Meyer explained. Even with the slight decrease in annual revenue, the library board felt it was the best option to make the library accessible to everyone.

“As we’re supposed to be a resource for the entire community, we wanted to make sure that we can be a resource for the entire community and not just people who can afford to pay late fines,” Meyer said.

The move to eliminate late fees is not new to West Michigan. Meyer said most of the large library systems have already done it.

“Everyone that I’ve talked to and heard from (says) it’s been a successful program and that the staff and patrons all appreciate the openness that comes from it,” he said.

Other fines like a “damaged book” or “lost book” fees will still apply. The “lost book” charge will be applied with a book isn’t returned within 35 days of the due date.

“If they bring the (lost) book back, we’ll remove that charge,” Meyer said.

Anyone who currently has a late fee will have it wiped clean. Anyone with a lost or damaged book fee will still be charged.

The library said patrons who borrow items owned by other libraries may still be charged a late fee. Late fees will also still apply to Mobile Hotspots due to the high demand and the ongoing costs to the library.

For more information, call the library at 269.793.7516.