(Voorhees, NJ) – Beginning on July 1, the Camden County Library System is eliminating all overdue fees for items returned past their due date. The Library’s mission is to provide equal access to information, services, and opportunities that empower, enrich, and enhance the quality of life for all. Eliminating overdue fees will further that mission by removing a significant barrier to the Library’s resources.
“Camden County is joining with several other progressive communities around the country in removing this antiquated barrier to the services provided by the Library,” said Freeholder Melinda Kane, liaison to the Camden County Library System. “We should not be punishing individuals who want to read or learn, but instead be finding ways to encourage members of our community to utilize these valuable resources. With this change, economic security will no longer limit the capacity of families and children to learn in Camden County.”
As of July 1, all outstanding overdue fees at each of Camden County’s eight library branches will be forgiven as long as the overdue item has been returned or paid for. Some high demand items with limited availability, such as Grab and Go items and Museum Passes, will continue to utilize extended use fees. Materials that are owned by other libraries and borrowed through Interlibrary Loan will still be subject to fines.
The Camden County Library System serves a diverse group of constituents, too many of whom struggle to afford an overdue fee for a book or video that they’ve failed to return. Library officials have observed that these fees do not make individuals more likely to return items on time, but instead drive them to stop visiting the library completely once fines have piled up.
“Some have reported a sense of embarrassment when they walk into a library knowing that they have dozens or hundreds of dollars built up in unpaid fines,” Kane said. “We’ve found that this feeling is not motivating, but is debilitating. Eliminating overdue fees does not mean that individuals who loan materials are devoid of responsibility for their items. It means that financially vulnerable members of our community aren’t cut off from our resources.”
The library will still utilize due dates on the materials it loans to members. After materials are due, members will maintain their standard borrowing privileges for 14 days. If after 14 days the item(s) has not been returned, then that member will lose their borrowing privileges until that item is returned or until the member has paid to replace it.
The Camden County Library System is committed to delivering critical resources to the communities it serves, and rest assured that eliminating overdue fees and penalties will not affect our ability to meet that goal. The revenue we derive from fines and fees represents just one quarter of one percent of the Library’s annual budget.
Established in 1921, Camden County Library System seeks to meet the recreational, informational and educational needs of its customers with locations in Camden, Bellmawr, Gloucester Township, Haddon Township, Merchantville, Winslow Township and Voorhees Township. The Library is governed and supported by the Camden County Board of Freeholders and the Camden County Library Commission. For more information about the Camden County Library System, visit us online at http://www.camdencountylibrary.org/ or by calling (856) 772-1636.