What is the value of libraries? Through lifelong learning, libraries can and do change lives, a point that cannot be overstated.—Michael E. Gorman
The Livingston Public Library wants its community to know how much it loves and values its patrons. We want our patrons to enjoy the library experience without the
worry of owing fines, so beginning Friday, February 14, Livingston Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines for most of its items. This community has built a beautiful library, filled it with educational and entertaining materials, and employed knowledgeable, helpful staff. There should be as few barriers as possible to its use by all. The Library see fines as an obstacle to its collection and its ability to offer literacy, learning, and informative opportunities. We want our members to use our collection and eliminating fines makes our items and services all the more accessible.
“We are thrilled to be going fine free. We want everyone to enjoy their library experience without the stress and negativity of fines, which often impact our most vulnerable patrons, such as children and senior citizens. We hope that by removing fines, patrons will feel empowered to visit us more often and check out more items without worry of fees if they are a few days late,” states Emily Weisenstein, Head of Patron Services. Library fines account for less than 1% of the Library’s operating budget and going fine free is not a new idea for public libraries in New Jersey and beyond. Melissa Brisbin, Associate Director, states, “Livingston Public Library wants everyone to enjoy the library experience. Fines often stop people from using our trusted and curated services. Eliminating fines is another enhancement to the Library’s emphasis on excellent customer service.” Library services are about sharing materials and that can be achieved with eliminating most of our fines structure.
Fine free doesn’t mean you can keep the items indefinitely. Items that are 60 days overdue will be billed to the patron’s account and they will be barred from checking out anything else. Patrons will then have 30 days to return a billed item to the library, after which the library will replace the item and will not accept it back. Patrons with 90 day overdue items must pay the full replacement price with no exceptions; patrons may keep the item once found. Also, some of the Library’s special collections, such as museum passes, Inter-Library Loans (ILL) and Library of Things will continue to have overdue fees attached, including items from other Bergen County Cooperative Libraries (BCCLS).
“Fine Free is such a great bonding experience for us as a community. I’m excited that people can use our materials without penalty!”–Katie Neylan, Head of Adult Services Services. We want patrons to have access to materials and books in their hands. While fines no longer exist, we are confident that our community members will continue to return items in a timely manner, and if they happen to be a little late, we understand. As life happens, your library will always be here.
Livingston Public Library FAQ:
What is fine free at the Livingston Public Library?
All collections, such as fiction, non-fiction, DVDs, audiobooks, videogames, and youth materials are fine free. Museum passes, Library of Things, Ready, Set, Create! kits, Inter-Library Loans (ILLs), and materials from other BCCLS libraries are subject to overdue fines. Lost and damaged items must be paid for in full, no exceptions.
How long can I keep materials before I am charged a replacement fee?
Items that are 60 days overdue will be billed to the patron’s account and they will be barred from checking out anything else. Patrons will then have 30 days to return a billed item to the library, after which the library will replace the item and will not accept it back. Patrons with 90 day overdue items must pay the full replacement price with no exceptions but may keep the item once found.
What if I have existing fines?
We will be waiving fines in person at the library for all Livingston Public Library card holders. While you visit, we encourage you to update your card and sign up for email and text notifications about your account and due dates. The library can not waive fines over the phone/email or for cardholders from other libraries.
For more information, please find the Livingston Public Library’s new circulation policy here, or call (973)992-4600 for more information.