Start a new chapter this year at the Library, since we are now fine free!
What does this mean? Starting January 1, 2022 late fees will not be charged for books, new books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs/TV series, Wii games, and magazines. Additionally, existing overdue fines from past checkouts will be waived. However, late fees will be charged for Commonwealth Catalog and ILL items, equipment like the electricity monitors, eReaders like Nooks/Kindles, hotspots, and museum passes.
Why have we gone fine free? It’s good for our community! Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. Libraries are a place open to anyone and everyone. We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience our offerings. It’s good for our relationships. When you walk through our doors, we want to do our best to help you, not badger you about a late fee. Going fine free makes a trip to the library more pleasant for both you and our staff. Libraries that have adopted fine-free policies found that:
- Library card registrations increased
- Borrowing of materials increased
- More library items were returned
- Students returned to the library to use homework resources
- Staff time was redirected from fines-handling to patron-focused services
Have other libraries eliminated late fines? Yes! In the U.S., almost 500 libraries have adopted fine free policies, and the number is growing every day. This number includes Pembroke, Brockton, and Boston public libraries, with many other local libraries considering fine free in the future.
Don’t late fines encourage people to return items on time? Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. Once someone has a late fine, they are less likely to visit the library again. Libraries who have removed late fees report few adverse effects on material return rates. The public library model is based upon a trusting relationship between borrowers and a valued community resource. Library staff trusts that borrowers will return items on time, so others may use them. Other libraries have experienced an increase in return rates after the adoption of fine free policies.
Will there still be due dates? Yes. The library still has a set time limit for materials to be borrowed and we expect items to be returned on time. Be respectful of your fellow library users who may be waiting for items to be returned. Bring back materials when they are due so that everyone has equal access to our collections. You can see our complete lending policies here.
Do any items have late fees? Late fees will be charged for Commonwealth Catalog and ILL items, equipment like the electricity monitors, eReaders like Nooks/Kindles, hotspots, and museum passes. Additionally, there will still be fees on damaged or lost items.