CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Cape May County Library System said Friday it will no longer charge overdue fines on most materials starting Wednesday.
While patrons will not be charged for late materials, items still need to be returned to the library. If an item is not returned within 21 days of the final due date or is returned damaged, patrons will be charged for the item. Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, Chromebooks, projectors and interlibrary loan materials borrowed from outside the library will still accrue overdue fines.
The county library began the fine-free initiative in 2018 by eliminating overdue fines for children. It did not result in more lost materials, the library said. Instead, it resulted in children using their library cards more often.
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Studies conducted by public libraries across the U.S. show patron borrowing habits do not negatively change when libraries go fine-free, according to the release.
“Our mission is to provide equitable access to library services and resources for all of our patrons” Library Director Andrea Orsini said. “Fines have been shown to create an unnecessary barrier to services, especially to those that can least afford to pay and most need our services. We are honored to join the other libraries nationwide who have elected to go fine-free.”