Hennepin County Strives to Keep Libraries Open to All
The Hennepin County Library wants to remove barriers that may keep people from using the library. One change made last year is auto-renewing materials before they are considered overdue. The library automatically renews checked out items up to three times. The only exception is when someone else places a hold on them. Library staff says many people end up returning items within a few days after their due date. That means auto-renewing them saves patrons from fines.
The library has made other inroads toward reducing access barriers. They dropped the $1 fee for replacing lost library cards. Plus, patrons can reserve meeting rooms and use computers and other library resources even if they have outstanding fines on their accounts.
Hennepin County Library’s interim director says policies like that are part of the overall mission.
“It’s all-in service of making sure that the wide variety of services that we provide to the community is available to the community,” says Janet Mills. Library officials say reaction from patrons so far has been very positive.