Fine-Free Policy

FAQs about our Fine-Free Policy

Will everything be fine-free?

All library books will be fine-free. This includes print books, audiobooks, AV sets, and magazines. Overdue fines will still apply to DVDs, BluRays, CDs, and items with limited supply, such as museum passes. For a complete list of materials and associated fines please review our Borrowing Policy. 

Will past overdue fines be forgiven?

Existing overdue fines on Case Memorial Library books and other fine-free items have been eliminated as of April 1, 2024. If charges remain on your account they may be overdue fines for items such as DVDs, BluRays, CDs, or museum passes; overdue fines for books from libraries that are not fine free; or replacement fees for items that have not been returned or were damaged. You are still expected to return all overdue items that are on your card or pay the replacement cost for the item(s).

What if I have fines from another library?

All items borrowed from other libraries, including but not limited to libraries in the LION consortium, are subject to the policies of the lending library. You are still responsible for paying overdue fines to other libraries that charge them. 

Will there still be due dates?

Yes. Every item checked out still has a set loan period and a due date, with a set number of automatic renewals unless there are holds. We encourage you to be courteous and try to bring your items back on time so that other patrons may enjoy them.

What about books I’ve placed on hold? Will I have to wait forever for my item?

Items with holds are not eligible for renewal and will be billed if they have not returned 21 days past the due date. Staff are also vigilant about monitoring our holds lists and will purchase additional copies of popular items to fulfill holds. 

I have a book that is billed on my account. Can I still bring it back?

Please do! When you return the item the bill will be cleared from your account and the overdue fines will be cleared. If you’ve found a book that you’ve already paid for, you may keep it or bring it back to the library as a donation.

I like to give a little donation to the library if I return my items late. May I still do that?

Absolutely! We appreciate the support of people who are able to give. Donations can be made at any service desk or by visiting the Donations page on our website.

Will I still have to pay for printing and photocopying?
Yes. While overdue fines are punitive, fees for printing, faxing, and photocopying help us to recoup the cost of providing those services and associated materials such as printers, copiers, paper, and toner.

FAQs about the Decision to Go Fine-Free

Why eliminate overdue fines?

The primary reason for this change is to reduce barriers to library services, especially for low-income residents, children and families, and seniors on fixed incomes who are disproportionately harmed by overdue fines. Fines can discourage patrons from borrowing materials or using the library entirely, impacting those who could benefit the most from the library’s resources. We believe our community is stronger when all members of our community have equitable access to the materials, services, and programs they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals, regardless of their ability to pay for them. 

We also want our interactions with you, our patrons, to be pleasant and productive. We believe that discussing all of the wonderful materials, services, and programs we offer and assisting you with your information needs is a better use of staff time and talent.

Don’t overdue fines encourage people to return items on time?
Research shows that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library materials. Instead, fines, and the threat of fines, actually become a barrier to using the library. 

The majority of public libraries that have gone fine free report increased library usage and a huge return of formerly lost items that people were afraid to return. 

Won’t people just check things out and never return them?

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” If your item is not returned 21 days past the due date, our system assumes the item is lost and a charge for the full replacement cost of the item will be added to your account. Your library card privileges are suspended until you return the item. 

Won’t this affect the library’s budget?

Fine revenue accounts for a negligible portion of the library’s total revenue. As overdue fines collected are not retained by the library, but instead are returned to the Town’s general fund, the end of fine collection will not affect the library’s ability to deliver outstanding collections, services, and programs. 

Have other libraries eliminated overdue fines?

Yes. Almost 80% of Connecticut’s public libraries have already gone fine-free!