Pile Of Books

Why go fine-free?

It's good for our community.

The library's mission is to connect people, build community and transform lives. Eliminating overdue fines will further that mission by removing barriers to the Library's resources. Increasing access to the Library benefits our entire community.

Overdue fines are not effective.

Our own experience during the Coronavirus pandemic and multiple studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates and may work against that goal.

It's good for our relationships.

Going fine-free makes a trip to the Library more pleasant for both you and our staff.

Used Books

What does fine-free mean exactly?

You will no longer receive a fine on overdue items. You are, of course, still responsible for returning items.

The Library will send you courtesy reminders to return items. Materials that are seven days overdue are assumed lost, and you will be billed a replacement cost. If you return the items, the replacement cost is waived. If the item has been lost and/or damaged, you are responsible for the replacement cost.

Books

What led to this decision?

It's good for our community.

The library's mission is to connect people, build community and transform lives. Eliminating overdue fines will further that mission by removing barriers to the Library's resources. Increasing access to the Library benefits our entire community.

Overdue fines are not effective.

Our own experience during the Coronavirus pandemic and multiple studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates and may work against that goal.

It's good for our relationships.

Going fine-free makes a trip to the Library more pleasant for both you and our staff.

Image by Chris Lawton

Have other libraries eliminated fines?

YES!

Visit https://endlibraryfines.info/fine-free-library-map/ to see how many libraries around the world have adopted fine-free policies.

Book Shelf

Won’t removing fines prevent people from ever returning the items?

No!

Return rates are higher when fines are eliminated. We know this from our experience of being fine-free in 2020. Of course, we will continue to monitor how this change will affect patrons and will make improvements as we see necessary.

Old Books

Do any items have late fees?

Yes, there are a few exceptions, such as materials that are owned by other libraries and borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.

Open Books

What do I have to do to have fines forgiven and removed from my account?

If you have outstanding fines accrued on Vestal Public Library items that have been returned, we will waive them. No questions asked. If you are still in possession of overdue materials, return them in our book drop or in person and we'll remove the fines.

However, if you have fines from lost or damaged material, you are still responsible for those charges.  You can always speak with us, and we will work with you to find an equitable solution. 

Open Book

 I haven't been to the Library in years. Will my card still work?

Four County Library cards need to be renewed every three years, so your card may be expired and need to be reactivated. There is also a chance it may have been purged from our circulation system. You can always call us at 607-754-4243 to discuss your card status.

Stack of Books

I thought I cleared up my late fines, so why do I still have a balance?

While we are doing away with fines, fees for lost or damaged materials remain. 

Books on the Desk

How will this affect the Library's budget?

While the Library is always mindful of its bottom line watching funding, any loss of overdue fine revenue is minuscule compared to the good this new policy will do for our community. The increased use of our digital materials (ex. Overdrive, Libby, hoopla) and other factors have made fines an unsustainable form of revenue. Also, overdue fines account for less than .4% of the Library's budget; going fine-free will not significantly impact the budget moving forward.

Books and Magazines

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Fines are punitive.  Fees are for library services and products such as copying, printing, and material replacement costs.

Storytime

I have always thought of paying my fines as a donation to the Library. Can I still donate?

Yes! Donations are always appreciated and can be made at the library or online here.

We can always improve our services and programming, and donations greatly help!

Open Books

FINE FREE FAQs

French Books

Are there any fines/fees that will still be charged to my account?

If an item is overdue for seven days, it will be considered lost, and fees for replacing the item will be billed to your account.

Any accrual of fees totaling more than $5.00 will result in your library card being blocked, meaning, you will be unable to use your card.