Jefferson Hills Public Library is now fine free!
What this means for you:
- Overdue items that are checked out at or returned to the Jefferson Hills Public Library will no longer accrue fines.
- Any overdue fines you owed before our switch to fine-free have been removed from your account.
- Items will still have a due date and you are responsible for returning your items.
- You will be billed for replacement costs of an item if it is not returned within six weeks of its due date.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is the library going fine free?
Fine free is good for our community. We are stronger when everyone has equal access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their education, career, and life goals.
Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates.
It’s fiscally responsible. Due to the rise in eBooks (which do not accrue late fines) and other factors, fines are not a sustainable form of revenue for the library. Revenue from fines and fees has steadily decreased for the past 5 years and is expected to continue to decrease. We can no longer rely on fines as a source of income and need to turn our attention and effort to other sustainable funding sources.
A library should never be a financial burden in your life. We are here to improve your life, not add stress or challenges.
The positive impacts far outweigh the negative. Fine-free libraries see higher usage, a higher return rate of long overdue materials, and better patron satisfaction.
- Houston Public Library reports dramatic spike in users after dropping fines, Houston Chronicle
- Lightfoot’s decision to eliminate library fines triggers 240% increase in book returns, Chicago Sun-Times
- A year after Denver Public Library ended late fees, patrons — and their books — are returning, Denver Post
How does it work?
Beginning June 14, 2023, the Jefferson Hills Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines on any items we lend.
- Any items checked out at Jefferson Hills Public Library will not have overdue fines, even if you return them to another library.
- Any items returned to Jefferson Hills Public Library will not have overdue fines, even if you checked them out from another library.
Do items still have due dates?
Yes. When you check out an item, you will receive a receipt that lists the item’s due date. You are still required to return the book to the library by the due date unless it automatically renews. The library will continue to send the following reminders:
- A courtesy reminder three days before your item is due.
- A notification if the item was automatically renewed.
- Overdue notices:
- 1 day after the item is due
- 14 days after the item is due
- 28 days after the item is due
- A billing notice if the item is not returned six weeks after the item is due.
What is the difference between fines and billed items?
Fines accrued every day after an item’s due date. A billed item is an item that has not been returned within six weeks of its due date. If you keep an item for more than six weeks after it is due, you will receive a bill from the library and need to return the item or pay for a replacement.
How does this impact the library’s budget?
Eliminating fines will have a very small impact on the library’s annual income. In 2022, fine revenue comprised 0.2% of the library’s budget and data shows that our income from fines decreases each year. Our countywide policy of automatically renewing items that do not have holds and an increase in eBook usage contributed to decreased fine revenue.
Will people still return their materials if there are no overdue fines?
Yes. Other libraries that have eliminated overdue fines have not seen a significant change in the rate of items that are overdue. Around 95% of items returned within one week of the due date, which is the same rate as libraries that charge fines.
Will the library refund patrons who paid their overdue fines before this change?
No, the library does not refund overdue fines previously paid prior to the fine-free policy change.