E. Bonner libraries eliminate overdue fines policy; W. Bonner libraries reopen

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The East Bonner County Library District Board of Trustees voted May 11 to eliminate late fees for overdue materials.

Library officials said that the board has been weighing the decision for some time. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sow uncertainty, job loss and an unsettled economy, the trustees were unanimous in agreeing that now would be a good time to eliminate fines. The policy goes into effect immediately.

Patrons will still be responsible for paying for any lost or damaged materials and processing fees, and will still be asked to bring materials back on time. The trustees are hopeful that library users will continue to honor due dates, knowing that all library materials are shared with the whole community.

Removing fines for overdue children’s materials last year has not caused any problems, according to Library Director Ann Nichols. 

“During this time, we all need to respect and help each other. Eliminating fines is one way the library hopes to help the community,” she said.

Comments and questions may be directed to the Information Desk at the East Bonner County Library District’s Sandpoint Branch: 208-263-6930 ext. 1209 or [email protected]

Meanwhile, the West Bonner County Library District reopened May 11 with regular hours and limited services at its Priest River and Blanchard branches.

According to Director Katie Crill, patrons are asked to practice social distancing and stay home if they don’t feel well. No more than 10 people will be allowed in the buildings at a time — including staff. Computer use will only be allowed for one, one-hour session per user, as most of the computers have been shut down to allow for six-foot spacing. The libraries can now accept requests from more than 28 other libraries and are still offering curbside pickup.

“We’ve installed plexiglas at the circulation desks and books are sanitized or quarantined for 72 hours,” Crill told the Reader. “We use UV wands to sanitize keyboards after each use and counters, door handles, etcetera, are disinfected regularly.”

Patrons will have to wait for Stage 3 of the “Idaho Rebounds” reopening plan for meeting rooms and in-house programs to resume. The children’s services staff is doing StoryTime videos and posting on Facebook, with craft “kits” available for the kids, Krill said. 

West Bonner County libraries are located at 219 Main St., in Priest River and 412 Railroad Ave., in Blanchard. Both branches open at 10 a.m. and close between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., depending on the day. Open hours end at 2 p.m. on Saturdays at both branches. Comments and questions can be directed to 208-448-2207 or go to westbonner.lili.org for more info.

Additional reporting by Zach Hagadone.

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