Effective September 1, 2022, the Hamilton Township Free Public Library will join libraries nationwide that have eliminated fines for overdue materials.
The Library Board of Trustees believes the transition to a fine-free system will facilitate borrowing and remove obstacles that may prohibit community members from accessing our materials and services. This initiative will continue for one year, at which time the Library Board of Trustees will meet to determine the future of this policy.
Studies indicate that while late fees have minimal effect on the return of books, it has a profound effect on borrowing, especially for children and economically challenged households. Equal access to information is of prime importance to the Library, and eliminating late fees will remove that barrier. Although the Library will be fine-free, patrons are expected to return items on time so that others in the community can enjoy them. Borrowers will continue to be charged for damaged items and items considered lost (not returned several weeks after their due date).
The library staff is working on updating customers’ accounts and removing overdue fines for returned items, which were considered late when returned. The Library Board of Trustees and staff are excited to give patrons a clean slate on overdue fines that they may have from the past and welcome them back to take advantage of all the Library has to offer.
Exceptions to the fine-free initiative are the Museum Pass Program, which will still have a $10 late fee per day, and interlibrary loan materials, which may result in a fee determined by the loaning Library. Learn more about the Hamilton Township Free Public Library by visiting our website www.hamiltonnjpl.org.