As of Tuesday, May 17, all old fines held by the Sussex County Library have been purged from borrowers’ records. That means that anyone who was previously barred from checking items out of the library can now feel free do so once again. The library also noted that anyone who may have been holding on to overdue materials because they were worried about paying the accrued fines can now stop into their local branch, fine-free, as well.
However, the library does ask that anyone who may have forgone a library visit as a result of these fines just check to make sure that their library cards are still active.
“One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it showed us how little impact overdue fines have on actually getting our books back. Having seen that, along with the feedback we were getting from other NJ libraries, it became clear that it was costing us more to collect overdue fines than we were taking in from charging them,” stated Library Director Will Porter.
“More personally, I found in talking with members of the community that a number of Sussex County residents who rely on the library most — kids and teens who can’t always control when they can get back to the library, seniors on fixed incomes, working parents — risked losing access to the library for something as simple as forgetting to return items before going out of town. That’s never been what overdue fines were supposed to be for.”
Although borrowers will no longer be charged a daily overdue fine on books, movies, music or games, library items still need to be returned or renewed by their due dates. To help with on-time returns, all eligible items will continue to be automatically renewed up to three times. Unreturned items will eventually be considered lost, and the borrower will be charged the full price of the item, plus a processing fee.
Also, this new system does not apply to electronics such as Chromebooks or Hotspots, and unique items like cake pans and museum passes that some local libraries carry.
SCLS library cards are free to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Sussex County (except Sparta). To learn more, stop by your local branch or go to sussexcountylibrary.org.