Beginning Thursday, April 1, 2021 the Bloomfield Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines for print materials and audio books checked out at the Bloomfield Public Library.
The mission of the Bloomfield Public Library is to educate and enrich the community by providing resources and opportunities for gathering, learning, connecting, innovating, and accessing information.
Charging overdue fines for print materials and audio books places limits on the usage of these materials that inhibits our ability to fulfill this pledge and discourages library use.
What does “fine free” mean?
- Fines are charged for overdue library materials. “Fine free” refers to eliminating the fees charged for returning print materials and audio books after their due date.
- As of April 1, 2020, print materials and audio books checked out at the Bloomfield Public Library will no longer incur overdue fines.
- Print materials and audio books will still be assigned a 3-week loan period, and patrons should continue to renew items to extend loan periods. Materials that are eligible will be automatically renewed. Items without holds can be renewed twice.
- Lost and damaged fees still apply. Items that are overdue more than eight (8) weeks are automatically marked lost.
- With approval from the library’s Director, patrons may choose to replace lost or damaged materials themselves with identical items.
- This policy change does not apply to overdue fines for DVDs, Blu-Ray, and video games.
- The library will continue to charge small fees for printing, photocopying, and faxing services.
Why is the library eliminating overdue fines for print materials and audio books?
- Charging overdue fines for print materials and audio books does not support the library’s mission of providing opportunities to all members of the community.
- Overdue fines disproportionately affect low-income families, adding another barrier to library use.
- Research shows no difference in overdue rates between libraries charging overdue fines and libraries not charging overdue fines.
Why am I still accruing overdue fines on my library account?
- Items checked out or renewed at other OWWL libraries are subject to that library’s circulation policies and may accrue overdue fines.
- Movies and video games checked out at the Bloomfield Public Library will still accrue overdue fines at $1.00 per day, with a maximum fine of $5.00.
- We cannot waive overdue fines for items owed to other libraries or waive fees for lost or damaged materials.
- Patrons with economic hardship or special circumstances that make it difficult to pay already accrued fines or for lost/damaged materials are encouraged to speak to the library’s Director.
Doesn’t the library need overdue fine money to run the library?
- Overdue fines make up a very small part of the library’s budget and have been trending downward in recent years. Since the beginning of the pandemic and the 2020, overdue fines at the Bloomfield Public Library have been waived. This has not had any discernable effect on the library budget.
- The library actually incurs expenses to collect overdue fines, including staff time collecting fines, staff time handling fine disputes, and billing postage.
- The majority of the library’s funding comes from the school district tax levy and donations.
The purpose of our library is to supply the Bloomfield community with resources that can be borrowed for education and enrichment. We believe removing overdue fines for print materials and audio books will promote literacy and increases access to the Bloomfield Public Library.
For more information on your library account, please visit the library staff at the Service Desk. Final decisions regarding patron accounts are made at the discretion of the Director.