In 2020, The Centerville-Center Township Public Library eliminated overdue fines! This means patrons are no longer charged 25 cents a day for items that are returned late. We also waived overdue fines accrued in the past, so our patrons could start fresh. Patrons with other bills on their accounts may need to contact the library to have their past overdue fines removed.
Please note that patrons are still financially responsible for lost or damaged items, as well as collection fees.
The library’s mission is to provide free and equitable access to information and services, but late fines are a barrier to many. Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience our offerings.
Research shows that overdue fines DO NOT affect how quickly people bring back library materials. Return rates are generally the same before and after libraries go fine-free. And some libraries see more materials come back after going fine-free. Furthermore, the time and money previously spent on pursuing late fine payments can be put to better use improving library services.
Does this mean I can keep library materials forever?
No. We still expect our patrons to return library materials on or before the due date so that other members of the community can access them.
Patrons who do not return library materials will have their accounts blocked if they have 15 items overdue or when an item is 28 days overdue. Materials that are 28 days overdue will be considered “lost” and replacement charges will be assessed to the patron’s account. These charges will be removed if the materials are returned. However, patrons who wait too long to bring materials back may be referred to a collection agency and a non-negotiable $10 fee will be assessed to cover costs the library incurs pursuing collection action.
Won’t the library lose money?
Research shows that no matter the size and budget of the library, in most cases, fines account for only about 1% on average of a public library’s total operating budget. Most fines that are assessed are never actually paid. In addition, there are many costs associated with collecting fines.
The Centerville Public Library will regularly evaluate this program for effectiveness and impact on library services and budget. In addition, the library is always happy to accept monetary donations that a patron wishes to make.