Simplified: Siouxland Libraries announced at the beginning of the month that they'll no longer be collecting fees on overdue books. So, if fees were keeping you away from the library in recent months or years, here are a few things you may have missed.
Why it matters
- The decision to eliminate fees was made, in part, to encourage people who might feel the "overdue book shame" to come back and enjoy the library services, Director Jodi Fick said.
- Overdue fees also have been bringing less and less revenue, Fick said. Fifteen years ago, they'd bring in $100,000 annually. Now, it's dropped to around $15,000.
- And, by eliminating fees, the library system has seen an increase in returns and an increase in people coming to the library.
"The other thing we did was look at how many of our items are overdue versus checked out," Fick said. "And it is just a minuscule amount. The majority of people, they return what they've checked out within a week."
Here are some things you may have missed at local branches
There are a number of new (or expanded) features for all ages visiting the library. Here's a breakdown:
- Play areas for kids: Each branch has a dedicated play area for young kids. Toys are rotated regularly – about monthly. And, for people who want to take toys home, the library also partners with the Toy Lending Library to let families check out toys to bring home.
- Get some space to yourself: Each library branch also has dedicated study rooms that anyone can reserve to have a quiet, private space to work, study or read in peace.
- A drive-thru window: The recently renovated Ronning Branch has added a drive-thru window where people can drop off or pick up books. Get items kept on hold, or call ahead and ask a librarian to pull specific items for you.
- All-in-one print/fax/scan machines: At the Caille, Oakview and Downtown branches have new machines set up to scan, fax and print. The scanner also has a feature that will translate documents into 66 different languages, either in a written form or as an audio file. The new scanners are also coming to the Prairie West and Ronning Branches in 2023.
And here are some online resources you may have missed
The library has expanded learning opportunities and digital offerings for card-holders, too. Here's a look:
- LinkedIn Learning: Anyone with a library card can use LinkedIn Learning at no cost. The service offers more than 20,000 video courses, many focused on business.
- JobNow: This online service will give people resume feedback and interview tips. Learn more here.
- Expanded ebook offerings. The library has had ebooks for more than a decade, but now they have two different programs with nearly a million titles available. Check out the Libby or Hoopla apps here.
What's next for Siouxland Libraries in 2023?
The library is looking to expand more into a "library of things" with offerings beyond books.
It's too soon to say exactly what that looks like, but Fick hinted that the next thing people will be able to check out will help Sioux Fallsians be more sustainable.