Students who lose their books or hold on to them a bit too long will be able to pay late fees and other library charges with credit cards by the end of the semester.

Library staff have begun the final stages of adding credit card capabilities, working on paperwork for banking, setting up equipment and circulation-desk staff in the new technology. Currently, the library accepts cash, check or GOCard for late fees.

The implementation process required sign-offs from several offices on campus: the Campus Fiscal Office, the Office of the Counsel, the Information Access Office, the Security Office and the Tax Department.

Faculty and graduate students will be able to rent carrels and lockers using credit cards, whereas they would previously have needed to pay via cash, check or GOCard.

“I think that it’s a small service change, but I think that for some people, it will be significantly more convenient for them to be able to use their credit cards and not have to make a special trip to the ATM or put money on their GOCards specifically to pay their fines,” Library Coordinator of Communications, Outreach and Programming Jennifer Smith said.

The idea was first suggested by Matthew Eckel (GRD ’16) on Georgetown Ideas in March.

“A lot of graduate students end up taking out a lot of books, and there are times when you end up raking up more than just a $2 or $3 fine. There have been several occasions when I was trying to get a locker, and they only take check or cash payments for what are often fairly large sums, and I’m usually not carrying a hundred bucks in my wallet or my checkbook,” Eckel said. “I get a sense that most of my colleagues are in a pretty similar position. It seems kind of archaic at this point that they don’t have a credit-card reader.”

Students who work at the circulation desk agreed that the new system would benefit library users.

“I guess it’ll make it easier, really just for patrons because most patrons don’t really carry cash,” circulation desk employee Max Menard (SFS ’16) said. “It wouldn’t really change my job; it would just be easier for others to pay.”

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