The Library Is Now Fine Free


(July 1, 2021) – The Anderson County Library System is eliminating overdue fines on almost all library materials on July 1. ACLS joins a growing, nationwide movement of libraries going fine-free to reduce financial barriers to library access. The policy was approved by the Anderson County Library Board of Trustees to go into effect at the beginning of the library’s fiscal year on July 1.

 “The library provides many services to the community, and we want to ensure those services are truly accessible to everyone,” says Library Director Annie Sutton. “Removing overdue fines does exactly that.” 

With this policy change, ACLS will also remove all outstanding overdue fines on patrons’ accounts. Patrons will no longer accrue any fines for returning materials after their due date, with the exception of limited, highly specialized items such as passes to South Carolina state parks and to the Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Patrons will still be charged for lost or damaged materials. ACLS will continue to send email reminders when materials are due.

In the past, overdue fines have been thought to encourage patrons to return materials to the library in a timely manner. However, research does not support this idea. Instead, fines can have the opposite effect; fearing fines, patrons may not return materials at all and stop using the library altogether. Eliminating overdue fines increases library access and improves interactions between library users and staff. Public libraries that have gone fine-free have also reported increased library use and circulation of materials.

“We’ve all heard the story of the long-overdue book; it’s even in an old episode of Seinfeld,” says Sutton. “I want the library to be a welcoming place and for people to have a positive experience each time they visit.”

People who have questions about their library account, overdue items, or who would like a library card can visit any of ACLS’s nine locations or bookmobile.

Fine Free FAQ

Are all materials free of overdue fines?
Nearly all materials are with the exception of limited, highly specialized items such as SC state park passes and TCMU passes.

Do I still have to pay an overdue fine that was on my account prior to July 1, 2021?
No. Amnesty will be applied to all unpaid overdue fines.

What happens if I don’t return my materials by the due date?
Materials that are 60 days overdue are assumed to be lost, and you will be billed for them. However, if the items are returned in good condition, the charges will be removed and your account will resume good standing.

Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?
Yes. You will be notified by email before and after materials are due. You will receive additional notifications by email when an item is considered lost. Please make sure your email address is up to date in your library account.

What’s the difference between a fine and a lost or damage fee?
Fines are a daily penalty assessed for the late return of items. Lost or damage fees are assessed for items that are long overdue (considered “lost”), or that were returned damaged or with missing parts.

If I owe money, can I still borrow from the Library?
If you owe less than $10, you can still check out items, access digital resources, and use public computers. For accounts owing more, you can pay your bill or discuss payment plan options with the Circulation Department at the Anderson Main Library or your local branch.

Will you issue refunds or credits for lost items that have been paid for?
Yes, you will receive a refund for the amount you paid and any remaining lost item charges will be removed from your account.

What if I can’t return materials?
If you are unable to return materials borrowed, payment plans are available.

What about exceptional circumstances?
Please ask to speak with a Library supervisor.

I still have a book that was due 6 months ago. What should I do with it?
Bring it back! Even if you’ve had it for years, you can still return it and use the Library with no late fines or replacement fees for this item as long as there is no damage to the item.

I paid $10 in fines earlier this year. Do I get them back?
No, this change in policy is only effective moving forward.

Without fines, will others return materials in a timely manner?
Libraries across the country that have eliminated overdue fines report that patrons still return materials on time, that more materials are checked out, and that interactions between staff and patrons are positive.

Can items be returned to any Anderson County Library System location?
Yes.

Explore the Children’s Courtyard


Courtyard garden

Musical butterflies, chalkboard flowers, a StoryWalk®, and a sensory garden are some of the newest features added to the Children’s Courtyard at the Anderson Main Library, thanks to a generous donation from former County Councilmember Craig Wooten as well as local gardening associations.

PLAY MUSIC on the colorful musical butterflies. Each produces unique sounds for children and their families to create brilliant compositions or even try “Hot Cross Buns.”

WALK, SKIP, AND READ through the StoryWalk®, a creative, new way for children and adults to explore the pages of a book along each station. As the stations progress, so too do the pages of the book. Each station may also have an extra prompt that connects to the theme or events in the book. Every so often a new book will be featured in the StoryWalk® so children and their families can check back often.

WRITE OR DRAW on the bright chalkboard flowers blooming on a brick wall. Want to color outside the lines? Use our chalk to decorate the pavement too!

purple flowers in bloom

SEE THE GARDEN GROW. The courtyard gardens have seen major improvements thanks to grants from Anderson County Master Gardener’s Association and the Upstate Master Naturalists Association. A Carolina Fence Garden showcases many of the state’s symbols, such as the state flower Yellow Jessamine, the state stone Blue Granite, a birdhouse for the state bird, the Carolina Wren, and many native wildflowers and pollinators. In the adjacent garden bed, a sensory garden blooms each spring, inviting children and families to engage four of the five senses to see, hear, touch, and smell the plants, birds, and insects in the garden.

These new features and improvements engage exploring, learning, and reading while enjoying the outdoors would not have been possible without the generous support of Library donors, sponsors, and staff.

Annie Sutton Named New Library Director


Annie Sutton sitting on a bench

The Anderson County Library Board of Trustees is pleased to announce Annie Sutton as the new director of the Anderson County Library System, beginning May 1. Annie has worked as the assistant director since January 2020.

“I’m very pleased that Ms. Sutton has been named director of the Anderson County Library,” says Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. “I know of her commitment to our community, to all the people in our community. She is following a legend, but I feel she may become one in her own right.”

Annie Sutton began her career with the Anderson County Library System in 2006. She established the Gambrell Teen Room and became the first teen librarian for ACLS. Annie then worked as the branch manager for the Powdersville Library, one of the largest and fastest growing libraries in Anderson County, before becoming the head of access services for the library system. Over her 15-year career with ACLS, she has led the library system to new initiatives and improvements, overseeing major branch library renovations and a reworking of the Anderson Main Library for improved access and accessibility.

“She will do a great job,” says Library Board of Trustees member Chris Huff. “I got to know Annie when she managed the Powdersville Library, and she was always great to talk with, when she had the time. Plus she’s a dog lover!” 

Annie and Faith receiving awards from SCLA
Annie, receiving the Outstanding Librarian award, beside Faith Line

In 2019, Annie received the Outstanding Librarian award from the South Carolina Library Association for her work and contributions to ACLS and librarianship. While Annie is instrumental in leading large initiatives and events like Community Reads and How-To Fairs, she is also comfortable kicking back and listening to discussions at Brews and Books, a book club sponsored jointly by ACLS and Carolina Bauernhaus Ales.

“I love looking at creative and innovative ways the can Library serve our patrons, whether that’s partnerships with local businesses, circulating unconventional items, like seeds and fishing poles, or simply providing high-quality literacy programs like storytime,” Annie says. “I’m excited for the opportunity to lead a great team and to find new ways to reach our community.”   

The Anderson County Library System serves residents of all ages in Anderson County at the Main Library in the city of Anderson, eight library branches, a bookmobile, and the digital library. The System’s staff and board are committed to freedom of access for all, offering a forum for ideas. For more information, visit www.AndersonLibrary.org.

Faith Line, Library Director, Retiring


Library Director Faith Line

After 13 years of leading the Anderson County Library System, Faith Line will retire as director at the end of April.

Faith began her public library career with the Pickens County Library System. She served as the director of the Sumter County Library for 21 years before becoming the director of the Anderson County Library System in 2007, after Carl Stone’s retirement.

“We been very fortunate to have had Faith heading up one of our most indispensable community assets.  She has led the way for the Anderson Library System as it embraced the opportunities of this new century, all the while understanding and nurturing the institution’s role as a repository for our community heritage.  As a library patron and a friend, I thank her for her service and wish her best wishes for what lies ahead,” says Rusty Burns, Anderson County Administrator.

Faith Accepting a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation
Faith accepts a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation

Under Faith’s leadership, the Library System joined the SCLends consortium, which she helped found, to provide increased access to books and materials for library patrons. She has overseen the expansion of library services including the beginning of eBook lending, which has now grown to include eBooks, digital audiobooks, streaming content, and even online classes. The Library has also expanded to circulate fishing poles, learning tablets for children, seeds through the Seed Library, alongside the books, audiobooks, movies, and magazines.

Faith with two other ACLS staff at the Iva Renovation Reopening
Faith (middle) at the reopening of the Iva Library after renovations

Faith has always focused on keeping the Library relevant to the community and meeting the needs of the people of Anderson County. She has overseen remodeling projects for six of the county’s nine library branches, as well as the establishment of the Gambrell Teen Room and the Electric City Creative makerspace at the Anderson Main Library. She expanded programming for all ages, particularly with the Library’s annual Summer Reading program and past events such as the Electric City ComiCon and How-To Fair.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Faith as the director of the Anderson County Library System,” says Julie Hart, Library Board of Trustees chair.  “Her focus has always been on providing what the library patrons and staff need now and in the future.”

Faith accepting her SCLA Hall of Fame award
Faith (right) accepting the SCLA Hall of Fame Awards at the 2018 SCLA conference

She received the Outstanding Librarian award from the South Carolina Library Association (SCLA) in 1993, and in 2019 was inducted into the SCLA Hall of Fame. In 2018, the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce awarded her the Athena Award for professional excellence, community service, and actively assisting women in professional excellence. Under her tenure, the Anderson County Library System was named the best library system in South Carolina, earning a proclamation from Anderson County Council.

Her service and sense of community extends beyond the Library as well. She has volunteered and served on the boards of the Alston-Wilkes Society, First Steps, Foothills Alliance, Anderson Chamber of Commerce, and Anderson University Lifelong Learning. She has been a community impact volunteer with United Way for over 10 years, including support of the Snack Pack program and literacy-based initiatives, and a member of the Rotary Club of Anderson since 2013.

Assistant Director Annie Sutton will serve as the Interim Director and the Library Board of Trustees will begin the search for a new library director.