Editor's Note: In November 2011, Bloomfield Hills residents narrowly passed a a 0.39-mill levy to fund a three-year contract with the Baldwin Public Library, giving them a library to call their own after several years and two previous millage attempts.
Patrons of Birmingham's Baldwin Public Library won't have to worry about shelling out so much money if they forget to return a book or want to check out a newly-arrived DVD.
In late January, the Baldwin Library Board voted to reduce late fees as well as eliminate the fee for checking out "Hot Picks," the section dedicated to newly-released DVDs and books.
The maximum number of times items can be renewed has also been upped to four, provided no one has a hold on them.
Now, late fees have been reduced to 20 cents a day for all items — including books, DVDs, inter-library loans and toys. In addition, the library's maximum fines have been reduced to $10 for all items except for youth paperbacks, which dropped from $10 to $3.
Before, late fees ranged from 20 to 30 cents a day, while maximum fees were as high as $25 for inter-library loans.
In addition, the library board voted to drop Hot Picks, the special section where new books and DVDs were kept. Before, it cost $1-$2 to check out a Hot Pick item — now, they'll be available for free.
Visiting patrons from outside Baldwin's service area, meanwhile, will still need to pay to check out Hot Pick items.
Lowering late fees and dropping the Hot Picks fee, Library Director Doug Koschik said, was a move toward making life easier for library patrons.
“We wanted to encourage more people in our service communities to use the Hot Picks collection at Baldwin," Koschik said in a press release. "The elimination of the Hot Picks fees will provide everyone in our service communities with access to some of the newest and most popular items."
Koschik said by reducing fees and eliminating Hot Picks, the library will be losing around $15,000 in income per year.
"That's a relatively low amount," Library Board member James Suhay said. "The amount of money we earn isn't worth antagonizing patrons."
Koschik said now that Hot Picks are free, the library will start ordering more copies of new books and movies to accommodate increased demand.