I love Erin Rubin’s article in Nonprofit Quarterly: Libraries, in a Move for Equity, Scrap Late Fees.

First, because I have an affinity for libraries and I love watching them evolve with the times.

Second, because it has an important message for every nonprofit:

Are you living your mission?

“At their midwinter meeting in 2019, the American Library Association issued a resolution stating “the imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services,” and recommended that libraries “move towards actively eliminating them.”

Late fees are antithetical to the mission of a public library. Late fees are a barrier to providing free and open access for all patrons, especially to low income individuals.

It’s an interesting innovation for libraries with a profound message for all nonprofits.

When was the last time you looked at your processes and procedures to see if they fit with your mission? What are you doing as ‘business as usual,’ that is actually at odds with the impact you want to have?

You can use this example from libraries across the United States to introduce the idea to your board and staff. What are WE doing out of habit or ‘received wisdom’ that we should eliminate or change?

If this article has provoked some thought, please let me know. If you bring it up to your staff or board, I’d love to hear how it’s received.

And if another article has caught your eye and made you think, pass it on.

More eyes, more wisdom.

Susan Detwiler