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Campbell Library Permanently Ends Fines

The Campbell Co. Public Library is permanently ending fines.

The county library system announced Wednesday that patrons may return items without worry of late fees, no matter how overdue they are.

Fines were paused in March 2020 during the pandemic, which saw an overwhelmingly positive response and the return of many items once considered lost, the library said in an announcement.

Now, going forward, it will remain policy that there are no longer late fines on books, magazines, movies, video games and more.

“We want everyone to feel welcome at the library,” Library Director J.C. Morgan said. “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.” 

This decision is in line with hundreds of library systems across the country. Fines tend to penalize already vulnerable individuals or families who can’t afford them — the very people who often need the library most, the announcement said. Several studies have found that overdue fines do not ensure the return of borrowed items but do keep patrons from accessing valuable services. 

Items still need to be returned so that others may enjoy them, the announcement said. Materials more than 60 days overdue will be considered lost, and a replacement fee will be charged. Library staff will continue to regularly watch hold lists and order additional copies of popular materials when necessary. 

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-Staff report