Pioneer Library System to go fine-free for youth materials

For 60 years, the Pioneer Library System has worked to be a literal “pioneer” in library service to its communities.

And PLS is moving forward in that commitment to its customers with the upcoming implementation of fine-free youth materials, beginning to coincide with the start of the annual Summer Reading Program.

Starting June 1, overdue fees will not be assessed for any checkouts related to youth materials. Staff recommended the move and it was approved by the PLS Board of Trustees at its April meeting.

The goal of the plan is to remove a roadblock for young cardholders in the system who may be unable to use their cards due to concerns about accruing fines.

“We recognize that eliminating fines on youth materials will have a small impact on system revenue,” said PLS Executive Director Lisa Wells. “But the feeling is that the amount is manageable given the outstanding benefits we see in reopening access to our younger customers.

“Ultimately revenue from these fines adds up to less than a quarter of one percent of our operating budget,” Wells added, “and our conclusion is that the roadblock is greater than the revenue for this group of most impressionably young minds.”

Pioneer is the first library system in Oklahoma to do away with fines for a group of cardholders, following a trend that's taken place in many libraries and systems around the country in recent years. Among these libraries are the Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library System, which is fine-free for all customers, and the Salt Lake City and St. Louis County library systems, which have a similar offering to what PLS is implementing with fine-free materials for children and teens.

PLS has taken multiple steps in working with young readers over the years. In 1998, PLS established a relationship with Norman Public Schools for students to be able to use the library’s resources. Since the service has been rolled out in several districts, including the Noble and Dibble schools.

In 2015, PLS created an optional “MyCard” for children and teens that does not require parental signature, is fine-free and gives users a chance to have three items checked out at a time.

Anyone who lives, goes to school, works or owns property in either Cleveland, McClain or Pottawatomie counties is eligible for a Pioneer library card.

Find out more by downloading the PLS Connect App, available for download via the App story for iPhone or Google Play for Android.

Go “Extreme” with animal adventure

Take an adventure into the world of many types of animals with the group Extreme Animals in its visit to the McLoud Public Library at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 7. The program takes place in the McLoud American Legion Hall across the street to the east from the library.

The activity is for ages 11 and under and their caregivers and is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program. It will feature visits from several exotic and domestic animals and a chance to learn a little more about the animals and how they live.

Extreme Animals is an Oklahoma City-based organization that works both in animal rescue and in exhibiting and exotic animals for educational and entertainment purposes. The group has performed throughout the region including in past Summer Reading Program activities.

Registration is not required to attend.

Sponsors for this year’s Summer Reading Program are the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Friends of the Library groups, Hitachi Computer Products of America Inc., Institute of Museum and Library Services, Oklahoma College Savings Plan, the Pioneer Library System, Pioneer Library System Foundation, Sonic – America’s Drive-In, Corp., the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoman Newspapers in Education.

For more information, visit the library, call 788-4132 or go online to