What You Need to Know
Effective immediately, most overdue items will no longer accrue late fines, but patrons are still responsible for returning items and paying for any lost or damaged materials. Additionally, all patrons who have existing late fines will see those fines cleared from their accounts. Any existing charges for lost or damaged items will remain on accounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are you getting rid of overdue fines?
A: In recent years, public libraries have come to recognize fines as a barrier to access. For people who can afford them, late fines are too small to make a difference. For those who struggle financially, a overdue balance becomes a reason to be wary of checking out materials and may prevent the patron from coming back at all. Simply put, public libraries believe that no one should be denied access to the library or its collection because of an inability to pay a late fee.
Q: Won’t the library suffer financially as a result? Will this affect the library budget?
- The funds the library received from overdue fines was a small fraction of the budget. In addition, we receive more funding from circulating materials. Consequently, when patrons with overdue fines are unable to check materials out, our funding suffers. Patrons who wish to support our library are welcome to donate any money they might have spent on late fines if they desire, but we will never limit library access to them if they are unable to, or choose not to do so. We would much rather accept a voluntary donation from someone who can afford it than see someone stop using the library’s resources just because they kept their items a bit too long.
Q: Does this mean I can keep a book or other item for as long as I want?
A: No. Standard due dates still apply. Library users will still be charged replacement costs for items that are lost or damaged. If you keep an item too long, it will still go to billed status and a replacement charge will show up on your account. That charge will disappear when you return the item in good condition. While a replacement charge exists on your account, you will be blocked from checking out additional items until the charges are paid or the items are returned.
- Are there any exceptions to the fine-free policy?
- Yes. There are a few important exceptions.
- Any items that are checked out by our patrons at other MORE Libraries may still accrue overdue fines.
2. We still have overdue fines on a few of our high-demand items, which include our tablets and hotspots.
3. Items that have been checked out for longer than their maximum loan period will be charged to your account. As always, when the item is returned in good condition, that charge will be waived.
- What other types of charges may still be incurred on my library account?
- If an item is overdue for 28 days, it will be considered lost and a replacement cost will be charged to your account. If the item is returned to the library, those fines will be waived.
Additionally, if an item is damaged or a part is missing from an item when it is returned, you may still be charged.
- What if I have fines on my account from before you made this change?
- Most existing fines will be waived and your card will be cleared. Any existing charges for lost or damaged items will still be the responsibility of the patron. However, if those items are returned to us in good condition, we will happily waive any fines associated with them. Please feel free to stop in and talk to us if you don’t see your fines disappear or you have questions about charges on your account.
- I always thought of fines as a way to support the library. How do I continue to support the library, if not through fines?
- We are fortunate to have a generous community! The best way to support the library right now is to join our Friends group or make donations to our endowment fund. We have a variety of ways to do that from our website or by stopping in to the library. If you are interested in supporting in other ways, stop by and talk to us!
The D.R. Moon Memorial Library is excited to welcome all of our community members and to remove any barriers that may have prevented you from using all of our services!
Fine Free Myths & Facts
Myth: People won’t return their library items.
Fact: Studies of public libraries that have gone fine free show that there was no drastic increase in late returns, and in some cases saw a drop in rate of late returns. Patrons will still receive reminder notices, and are still responsible for returning their items.
Myth: The Library relies on fines as a revenue source.
Fact: Overdue fines are not a significant source of income for the library and, in cases where fines block a patron from using the library, actually reduce our revenue. Over the years, we have seen a drastic reduction in the amount of fines we bring in. We believe that we can better serve our patrons and still promote supporting the library by removing this barrier.
Myth: I’ll have to wait longer for my holds.
Fact: Of the libraries studied that have implemented a fine free model, there was no marked increase in hold wait times or gaps in collections. Some libraries even report shorter wait times after going fine free.