Fine-Free Library

 
How the North Haven Memorial Library's Fine-Free Program Works:
  • You will no longer receive a daily late fine on overdue items owned by the North Haven Memorial Library*

    • You are still responsible for returning your items on-time AND in good condition. We do want all items back!

    • The library will send you reminders to return your items.

    • *Excludes museum passes, technology equipment, and interlibrary loans outside of the LION system.

    • *If you borrow materials from another library in the LION system, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy (some have fines, some do not).

  • You still will be charged for lost OR damaged items.

    • The library incurs a replacement cost for every lost or damaged item, therefore, patrons will still be charged a replacement fee to help pay for any lost or damaged items. 

    • Most materials borrowed from the North Haven Memorial Library are automatically renewed 2 times unless there is a hold. If the item is not returned within 14 days after the due date, it is considered lost and you will be billed for the replacement fee. Returning your items will clear the billed replacement fee.

    • Past replacement fees for lost or damaged items still apply.

  • Any old fines from overdue North Haven Memorial Library owned materials will be removed from your account. 

    • If you have overdue fines from the North Haven Memorial Library that you accrued before we went fine free, you are no longer required to pay these fines. We have cleared many of the accounts, but if you still have a fine that appears on your account, please call us and speak to a staff member.​​ Past replacement fees for lost or damaged items still apply.

    • ​If you have overdue fines from other libraries in the LION system, you are still responsible for paying those fines. 

PLEASE SEARCH YOUR SHELVES FOR ANY OLD LIBRARY ITEMS YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT. 

WE LOOK FORWARD TO MANY HAPPY RETURNS!

FAQs

Why did the North Haven Memorial Library eliminate overdue fines?

  • It’s good for our community. Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience our offerings.

  • Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. According to “Removing Barriers to Access,” a Colorado State Library whitepaper “The scant research on the impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit to to administering these policies and may be costly to enforce". When the Chicago Public Library eliminated overdue fines in 2019, they saw a 240% increase in the number of items returned. Also, if library fines worked the way they were initially intended, past revenue would have been $0 because all materials would be returned on time.

  • It’s fiscally responsible. Due to the rise in electronic materials (which do not accrue late fines) and other factors, fines are not a sustainable form of revenue for the library. Money collected from fines has gone down steadily for the past five years.

 

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Fines are punitive. Fees are for the replacement cost of an item.  

 

Will there be overdue fines on any materials?

All North Haven Memorial Library materials will no longer incur overdue fines with the exception of museum passes, technology equipment, and materials that are obtained through interlibrary loan outside of the LION system. If you borrow materials from another library within the LION system, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy (some have fines, some do not).

What if I have old overdue fines on my account?

Overdue fines on North Haven items have be wiped clean as of July 1, 2021. 

Fines have been waived, so why does my account still have a balance?

While the North Haven Memorial Library is doing away with overdue fines, fees for lost or damaged materials remain. We also cannot clear fines for items borrowed from other libraries that are still charging overdue fines. 

What if I have fines from another library?

You are still responsible for paying overdue fines to other libraries that charge them. All items borrowed from other libraries are subject to the lending policies of the owning library. If you check out or renew items from another library in the LION system, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy.

How will the library get people to return borrowed materials? Won't people just check things out and never return them?

"No fines" does not mean "no responsibility".  If your item is overdue for more than 2 weeks, then the item will be assumed lost and you will be charged the full replacement cost of the item. Your card privileges will be suspended if your account exceeds $25 in fines.  

Will I still receive reminders about returning materials? 

You will still receive courtesy notices to remind you to return your materials so that others may enjoy them.

How is the library budget affected by the loss of fine income?

Overdue fines made up less than one percent of the library’s annual budget on average. 

I’ve always thought of paying my fines as my donation to the library. Can I still donate?

Absolutely! Donation boxes are available at the circulation desks. You can also donate directly to the library or become a member of the Friends of the North Haven Library.