Blackstone Library is now fine free

Blackstone Library Goes Fine Free for Good, Joining a Nationwide Movement

The Board of Trustees at the James Blackstone Memorial Library voted unanimously at their September board meeting to eliminate overdue fines for Blackstone-owned items.

During the pandemic-related closure and phased reopening this summer, the Blackstone Library opted not to charge overdue fines for materials returned after their due date. Library Director Karen Jensen wanted to make that a permanent policy and the Trustees agreed.

“We wanted to eliminate fines because we want all members of the community to have equal access to the library,” said Jensen. “Studies have shown that fines do not actually provide an incentive to return items on time. Instead they stop people from coming back to the library.”

By eliminating fines, the Blackstone Library furthers its mission to educate and enrich the Town of Branford by removing what can be a major barrier to access of materials. Eliminating overdue fines can also improve a patron’s library experience and foster more positive interactions between library members and staff.

The library will still have due dates and will automatically extend renewals if there are no holds on an item. If an item is lost or damaged, a replacement fee will be added to your account. 

Old overdue fines for Blackstone-owned items will be wiped clean as of October 1. Any replacement fees for lost or damaged items will remain. Instead of paying an overdue fine, you can still support the library financially with a donation. Go online to easily and securely make a contribution.

The library joins a growing number of local and national public libraries that have already eliminated overdue fines. Libraries that have gone fine-free report few issues with borrowed items being returned on time, and have actually seen an increase in the number of items being borrowed.

“We are hopeful that eliminating fines will encourage more people to return to the Blackstone or even get a library card for the first time,” said Beth Law, President of the Blackstone Library Board of Trustees. “The library is the great equalizer and we are pleased to be able to make it more accessible for everyone.”

Questions about your library account? Call 203-488-1441 x315.