Campbell County and Cincinnati Public Libraries Go Permanently Fine Free

Tend to lose yourself — and your sense of time — while wrapped up in a good book? These public library systems say not to worry.

click to enlarge Campbell County Public Library is going fine free. - Photo: facebook.com/campbellkylib
Photo: facebook.com/campbellkylib
Campbell County Public Library is going fine free.

For any bookworm out there who loses their sense of time when wrapped up in a good novel, the Campbell County Public Library (CCPL) says not to worry.

The library system has decided to go permanently fine free after adopting that model in March 2020 because of COVID. CCPL says in a release that they saw an overwhelmingly positive response to the move and "the return of many items once considered lost." 

CCPL said that other libraries that have eliminated late fees for overdue materials have seen an increase in circulation and the amount of people accessing their services, as well as the time the staff has to focus on patrons — not fines. It has also allowed students and vulnerable families to use the library without the worry of being monetarily penalized, adding that studies have shown "overdue fines do not ensure the return of borrowed items but do keep patrons from accessing valuable services."

“We want everyone to feel welcome at the library,” Library Director JC Morgan says. “Going fine free helps us reach that goal by removing unnecessary financial barriers. All of our patrons should have equal access to the library’s resources and services.”

And while there will no longer be late fees for books, magazines, video games, etc. returned past their due date, anything more than 60 days overdue will be considered "lost" by CCPL. If you lose an item, you will be charged a fee to replace it. 

CCPL has four branches — one in Cold Spring (3920 Alexandria Pike), one in Fort Thomas (1000 Highland Ave.), one in Newport (901 E. Sixth St.) and one in Alexandria (8333 Alexandria Pike).

Learn more at cc-pl.org/fine-free.

Over the river, the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library Board of Trustees decided during an Aug. 10 board meeting to make the Cincinnati Public Library system fine free starting Sept. 26. 

The library had been fine free during the pandemic and through July 2021 and had previously hinted at the thought of going permanently fine free, writing on their website:

"Libraries that have already gone fine-free have reported positive results. Chicago Public Library saw a 240% increase in return of materials within three weeks of implementing its fine-free policy last year, and also had 400 more library card renewals compared with that time the previous year.

For several years many public libraries, including several in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, have been eliminating fines for overdue materials. At the end of the year, the Library will evaluate the impact of no overdue fines in 2020 and determine whether to make fine-free a permanent practice. Becoming a fine-free library may be a logical next step, as we implemented automatic renewals in 2019, which has helped customers avoid fines. Additionally, the increasing use of eBooks and audiobooks has led to fewer overdue fines, because these materials are automatically removed from a customer’s device on the set due date."

Following a similar model to CCPL, the Cincinnati Public Library will consider items not returned after 30 days of their due date "lost," and patrons will be charged for them.

They will also lock library accounts with items 12 days past their due date, until the item is returned or replaced. And, if a patron owes more than a $10 fee, their card will be locked. Once you reach a $50 fee on your library card and haven't paid for 30 days, you'll be referred to a materials collection agency.

For more info and to find a Cincinnati Public Library branch near you, visit cincinnatilibrary.org.

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