Fine Free Summer Initiative

The Ramsey Library is proud to announce that this summer will be FINE FREE for all materials in our children's and teen collections!

Starting on June 27th and running through August 31st, there will be NO overdue fines for any children's and teen materials. This includes books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and other materials that are in our children's or teen collections. Kids, teens and adults can all check these materials out. Existing fines incurred before June 27th will still exist and lost/damaged items will still be charged.

This new initiative is meant to reduce barriers to books and materials and encourage reading and learning. This project will act as a beta test for the future, as we may consider continuing on to different levels of fine free models for the Ramsey Library. Overall, we hope that this initiative will help to reduce barriers to accessing all the books, materials and services the library has to offer, while working to encourage reading and learning for kids and teens.

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Frequently Asked Questions about late fines and Fine Free

Why did the library decide to stop charging late fines for children’s and teen materials for this summer?

The Ramsey Free Public Library is dedicated to providing free access to books, materials and services to the entire community. Eliminating fines will help to reduce barriers to access of materials, especially for children, teens and socioeconomically disadvantaged. Often a person may stop coming to the library after not being able to pay a fine or may be embarrassed by having accrued a fine. Eliminating fines will help to reduce those impediments. We also hope that this initiative will pair with our Summer Reading program and help to encourage kids and teens to read more.

Will the library consider eliminating fines for adults or making fine free permanent?

This program will serve as a pilot initiative for the library. Throughout the summer we will monitor how the program is going and how our patrons are reacting. We will be reviewing the information we gather and we will be considering whether to move to eliminate additional fines and making these initiatives permanent.

Won’t people be encouraged to keep items too long and not return them to the library?

The commonly held belief that charging late fines encourages timely returning of materials has largely been disproved. A recent study comparing libraries that charge fines and ones that do not showed no significant difference in return times. Further, NJ libraries who have adopted fine free models have reported few adverse effects on material return rates.

Will there still be due dates on children’s and teen materials during the summer?

Yes. The library still has the same times set for borrowing times for all materials and we expect items to be returned on time. If items are kept beyond the due date, they must be renewed or returned to the library.

What items still have late fees?

This program only includes materials from the library’s children’s or teen collections, which includes books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs. All adult materials will still have fines attached, as well as our unique lending items like Snap Circuits, gaming consoles, and launchpads.

How long is Fine Free Summer going on?

Our Fine Free Summer initiative will begin on June 27th and extend through August 31st. That means that any items borrowed in that time frame from our children’s and/or teen collections will incur no overdue fines. Regular fines will begin again for all materials as of September 1st, pending the results of this pilot project.

How will this impact the library’s budget?

Fines account for a very small amount of the library’s annual budget, roughly 1%, and will not have a significant impact on collections or services.

I borrowed a book from another Library and returned it to Ramsey, will I have to pay a late fee?

If the item is not owned by the Ramsey Free Public Library and it is returned late, you will be accessed a late fee. The Ramsey Free Public Library is not charging late fees on items we own in our children’s or teen collections throughout this summer. However, other libraries in the BCCLS system will still be charging fines for the materials they own.

I have a fine from before fine free summer began, will I still have to pay that?

Any fines that were accrued before June 27th will still remain on your account and will need to be paid.