MILLBURN, NJ — At the December meeting, the Millburn Library Board of Trustees voted to go fine-free.
That program kicked into effect on a trial basis starting yesterday and will be running through the first half of the year. As part of the program, daily late fees will be eliminated.
Overdue fines currently amount to about 0.4% of the Millburn Library’s operating budget, according to the board of trustees. The library will be able to adjust its spending under the program with little to no impact on the operation or on library services.
While the daily fines will no longer accrue, the library will still charge full replacement of any items over due for 90 days. There are also three items that will continue to accrue overdue fines: museum passes, iPads, and Wi-Fi hotspots.
The continuation of daily fines is due to the high demand for these items among library patrons. In addition, the FAQ from the library notes that the checkout system will block an account with 10 or more overdue items.
Amnesty is also part of the trial program, so residents with long-overdue items will have charges waived if they bring said items in.
In an answer on the FAQ page, the board of trustees noted the reason for the switch;
Fines are barriers to access, particularly for children and for people with limited means. Eliminating daily overdue fines means users will not lose access to their library and the resources they want and need just because of a late return. By eliminating overdue fines, the MFPL is also taking a big step toward meeting its strategic goal of delivering excellent library service in a helpful and fair manner. Finally, eliminating fine collection will allow staff to focus on other service-related tasks while also giving you one less thing to worry about.
For any other questions, please consult the FAQ page for the program, located here: http://millburnlibrary.org/borrowing/fine_free