finefree web

Onondaga Free Library is now fine free! We no longer charge fines on late items for all our patrons, regardless of age group.

Below is more information about this new policy.


Why Go Fine Free?

It allows for better access to our library!

Our goal with this initiative is to allow all people in our community to have more access to library collections and digital resources.

It is good for our community!

In providing our community with access to programs, services, and materials they need, we are assisting them with their educational, career, family, and life goals. We believe that in providing this community service, OFL can continue to be a place that is open to everyone. Our hope is to encourage patrons to come back to OFL and attract new patrons to experience our offerings.

It helps build better relationships with our patrons!

We would like to make a trip to the library pleasant for both you and our staff. Our hope is that in going fine free and eliminating the potential hassle of being asked to pay a late fee, this experience will continue to be an enjoyable one.

It allows us to spend more time with our patrons!

Studies have shown that when staff time was redirected from collecting and dealing with fines, staff had more time available to focus on patrons and patron related services.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:

  • You will no longer receive late fines on most of our library collections.
  • Fines will still apply for items in our Library of Things collection, including, but not limited to:
    • Hotspots
    • Roku
    • Park passes
  • The library will continue to send you reminders to return your items.
  • If you have overdue fines from other libraries in the OCPL system, you are still responsible for paying these. You can pay these fines at any library in the system, including OFL.
  • If you check out materials while visiting another library in OCPL, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy (some libraries have fines, others do not). Fines are set by the lending library.
  • Replacement fees for OFL's lost or damaged items still apply.
  • If OFL's borrowed materials are not returned, you will be charged a replacement cost. Materials that are 30 days overdue are assumed lost and the replacement cost will be assessed to your card. Borrowing privileges will be suspended until the overdue items are returned or paid for.
  • Starting at 14 days after your account reaches $100 in charges, your account will be sent to the UMS Collection agency. A $10 charge to cover collection costs will be placed on your account. Please return your materials in a timely manner to prevent this from happening.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. Do I still have to pay a fine that was on my account prior to OFL going fine free?
    If you’ve returned all materials, your fine can be waived. If an item has been assumed lost or damaged, these fees will remain on your account.
  2. How will OFL get people to return borrowed materials?
    “No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” The sooner you return items, the sooner we can get them into the hands of more patrons. Materials that are 30 days overdue are assumed lost. Your borrowing privileges will be suspended and you will be billed for the replacement and processing costs.
  3. Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?
    Reminders will continue to be sent to you just as they were before.
  4. How is OFL able to afford not charging fines?
    Overdue fines on average make up a very small percentage of OFL's annual budget and have been suspended since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When this is taken into account, along with the time and effort factored into collecting fines, this decision is in the best interest of our patrons and staff.
  5. I have always considered paying my fines as my donation to the library. Can I still donate?
    Yes! Donations to OFL can be made directly to our library. Additional information may be found at: https://oflibrary.org/support/donate-today/ Monetary donations can be made in person at any time in the library. Your donation is always appreciated and will support collections, programs and services at OFL.
  6. Have other libraries gone fine free?
    Yes! Across the country, almost 500 libraries have done so, according to Glen Ridge Public Library. This number seems to be growing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about this at: www.glenridgelibrary.org/finefree.html.