We announced in January they will be hosting our first Bookin’ It 5K race on Saturday, April 11 at 8:00 AM. Due to COVID-19 and safety measures to encourage social distancing, we have decided the race will only be held as a virtual run. Participants have until April 30th at 11:59 PM to register.
A virtual race is where participants can run/walk/bike on their own time, at their own location and at their own pace. The library is encouraging participants to post pictures of their run or steps and tag us on Facebook with the hashtag #BookinItForFines. Mileage doesn’t have to be completed all in one trip. Participants can combine multiple trips to equal 3.1 miles.
“I know everyone is worried and stressed right now but I’m hoping by offering a virtual 5k, we can encourage our community to just get outside for fresh air once while still maintaining social distancing,” said Marketing Manager Kari Beesley. “I think it would be awesome if our participants can tell us how they entertain themselves during the run or what they think about. I would love to know what people listen to!”
We are hosting this 5K to begin the process of eliminating fines during Summer Reading. By participating in our fun run and showing support through sponsorships, participants can help eliminate fines so patrons can relax a bit this summer.
“Libraries are trying to figure out how to get their resources and services out to the public while also trying to figure out what’s holding people back from getting the resources and services they need,” said Beesley. “The purpose of late fines was to remind patrons to bring their items back, but it’s seen more as a punishment these days. In fact, racking up fines can actually keep someone from bringing their items back or coming back to the library at all.”
In June and July of 2019, 576 patrons had 1,608 overdue children’s items, totaling $2,331.95. Of those 576 patrons, only 179 have continued to use the library after Summer Reading. In all, 1,171 patrons had 3,438 overdue items, totaling $5,663.15. Of those 1,171 patrons, only 396 have continued to use the library after Summer Reading.
There is always the question of, “what if eliminating late fines encourages patrons to keep checked out items as their own?” Salt Lake City Public Library went fine free in July 2017 and reported that there was no significant negative impact to the return of materials. It actually motivated patrons to turn in their items, whether they were late or not.
These statistics show that fines stop people from coming back to the library, but do not prevent items from being late. They are a barrier to access, especially for those who need our services the most, so we are hoping to kick start the end of late fines at both branches by doing a trial run during the two months of Summer Reading.
While fines are beneficial to us, the elimination of them will be significantly more beneficial to the residents of Saline County to allow for improved access to the library’s collections and services. The 5k is sponsored by local businesses. Presenting sponsor is Everett Buick GMC. Other sponsors include Arkansas Medical Staffing, First Electric Co-op, Baxley-Penfield-Moudy Realtors, vbCPA, Sugar Mommas Bakery, Orangetheory Fitness, RazorShred and DeAnna Oates Farmers Insurance.
“Being able to gain support from our community to help pay fines is just the first step in allowing us to become a fine-free library,” said Beesley. “People will be able to enjoy the library without feeling like they’re being punished.”
To participate in the race, you must register by filling out an application on SalineCountyLibrary.org or ArkansasRunner.com. The cost for participants ages 18 and up is $15 and for ages 17 and under is $10. Ages 5 and under is free, and if you would like to just purchase a t-shirt, the cost is $10. Participants will receive a swag bag and t-shirt. Distribution details are to be determined.