Fine Free

Effective May 2, 2022 The Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library System will no longer charge overdue fines for items owned by Parsippany Libraries returned past their due date.  In addition, all previously existing fines for the Main Library and/or Branch Libraries of items returned overdue will be waived.

Parsippany is the third Library in Morris County to enact this policy.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library System Board of Trustees is dedicated to creating a library that is more open, equitable, and accessible to our community.  Eliminating fines for overdue materials means more people in our community have greater access to the Library’s vital materials, resources, and services.

Why have we gone fine free?

It’s good for our community!  Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to programs, services, and materials they need to purse their educational, career, family, and life goals.  We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience all that the Library has to offer.

Have other libraries eliminated overdue fines?

Yes!  The American Library Association passed a resolution in 2019, which has caused many libraries to reconsider their implementation of library fines.  In the US, more than 500 libraries have adopted fine free policies and the number is growing every day.

The libraries in our community that have waived fine include Roxbury, Chatham, Montclair, Newark, Teaneck, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Jersey City, Union, Ocean County, Somerset County, and Hackensack Libraries.  In addition all three New York City Library Systems, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and hundreds of other individual libraries and systems all over the country.

Won’t late fines keep people from returning items on time?

Late fines are not effective.  Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates.  Once someone has a late fine, they are less likely to visit the library again.  Libraries that have removed late fees report few adverse effects on material return rates.  The public library model is based upon a trusting relationship between borrowers and a valued community resource.  Library staff trusts that borrowers will return items on time, so others may use them.  Other libraries experienced an increase in return rates after the adoption of fine free policies.

Will there still be due dates?

Yes.  The Library still has a set time limit for materials to be borrowed and we expect items to be returned on time.  Be respectful of your fellow library users who may be waiting for items to be returned.  Bring back materials when they are due so that everyone has equal access to our collections.

What happens if I have outstanding fines on my account?

Any existing overdue fines on Parsippany materials on your account will be waived.  If you have charges for lost or damaged material, please speak with us and we will work with you to find an equitable solution.

What if I borrow items from another MAIN Library?

Fines are set by the lending library.  If an item is borrowed from a library that still imposes fines, you will be assessed that late fine.  The Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library System is not charging late fines on items we own or send to other MAIN Libraries.

What happens if someone does not return their items?

Items not returned within a timely manner will trigger an automatic block on the borrower’s library card.  If an item is not returned within 90 days, it is assumed lost and a replacement fee will be charged for the item.

Do any items have late fees?

A few.  Items like Museum Passes and items from the Library of Things will have late fees, but books, DVDs, audiobooks, and other items are fine free.

How does this affect the Library’s budget?

Fine revenue accounts for less than 0.3% of the Library’s annual budget.  It is an unreliable source of income, especially with an increase in e-material circulation and automatic renewals on eligible items.  We believe that being fine free will have an overall greater benefit for the community.

Branch Locations
Main Library 449 Halsey Road
Parsippany, NJ 07054
(973) 887-5150
Lake Hiawatha 68 Nokomis Avenue
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
(973) 335-0952
Mount Tabor 31 Trinity Park
Mount Tabor, NJ 07878
(973) 627-9508
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