By law, overdue fines have always been turned over to the Town of Amherst. With automatic renewals and increased usage of electronic items, the amount we receive in overdue fines continues to decrease substantially every year. Although the amount we receive in overdue fines has been a source of revenue for the town in the past, the staff and Trustees feel that overdue fines do more harm than good.
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When materials have no more automatic renewals and are overdue by 2 to 4 weeks (depending on the format) they enter “Lost” status in our circulation system, and your account is charged a replacement fee. This may block your ability to request items from other libraries, or borrow items from Jones Library. When materials are returned and checked in, the “Lost” status is cleared from your account and no fines will remain for that item.
There is no data showing that library fines deter patrons from returning library materials on or before the due date. Studies have shown that 95% of items are returned within one week of their due date. Studies also show the only way fines serve as a deterrent is by imposing steep fines. We will continue to maintain our collection and replace lost items in accordance with our Collection Development Policy.
No. The library will still charge patrons to replace lost or damaged items. However, if a library item enters “lost” status and is subsequently returned in good condition, no fines or fees will be associated with the item.
So far, we have not seen a change in our circulation statistics as a result of eliminating fines. The number of reminders we send out for books that are 60 to 90 days late has not changed. The number of adult AV items specifically that become “Lost” each week has not changed. This data affirms our belief that holds will continue to be fulfilled in a timely manner and our collection will remain robust.
All materials returned through the Jones Library System will be checked in without fines, even if they belong to another library. Overdue fines stay at the library where the patron is paying them, so the owning library loses that revenue anyway. We have made this policy decision based on what we feel is best for our patrons.
Thank you! We have collection boxes at our circulation desks and are grateful to accept donations in lieu of fines. Donations can also be made online. These donations will continue to support library services and collections.
Please contact Director Sharon Sharry at firstname.lastname@example.org.