Comstock Township Library is now fine free!

Comstock Township Library does not charge fines for overdue materials, with the exception of mobile hotspots and Playaway Launchpads. As of March 3, 2020 all outstanding overdue fines have been waived. We believe this furthers our mission of allowing equitable access to information for all.

What does fine free mean?
  • You will no longer be charged a daily late fine on overdue items, with the exception of mobile hotspots and Playaway Launchpads.
  • You are still responsible for returning your items. We do want all items back!
  • You will not be able to check out other items once you have overdue items on your account.
  • The library will send you a series of reminders to return your items.
  • Items that are overdue by 31 days or more will be considered lost and you will be billed for them. If you return the items, the bill will be cleared from your account.
  • Your account will be referred to the library’s collection agency approximately 21 days after you receive a bill, if your total bill is more than $25. This information is not reported to credit bureaus.
  • If you return your items after you have been referred to the collection agency, you will not have to pay your bill on those items, but you will be charged a $10 collection agency processing fee.

Why fine free?

It’s good for our community
We believe our community is stronger when all people have equitable access to the information, resources, and programs that the public library provides. When users incur overdue fines, those who are able to, pay those fines and keep using the library, while those who cannot afford to pay simply stop using the library.  It is our hope that a fine free structure will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience what we have to offer without fear of penalty.

Late fines are not effective
Studies have found little evidence to suggest that fines have any effect on the timely return of library materials. In fact, much of the research suggests that fines instead deter people from borrowing materials in the first place. Users who tend to return items on time and those who return items late continue to do so, regardless of whether the items incur overdue fines.

It’s fiscally responsible
Overdue fines make up less than 1% of the library’s annual budget and money collected from overdue fines has steadily decreased over the past few years. Often users keep items instead of returning them when they have overdue fines. It makes good fiscal sense to forgive a $3 fine rather than lose a $25 item.  

It’s a nationwide movement
Many libraries across the United States are now fine free. These libraries have recognized that the long held notion that overdue fines encourage items to be returned just isn’t true. Libraries have reported many benefits from going fine free including increases in checkouts and new users as well as seeing fewer overdue items and more returned items.


Articles on the fine free movement

The Dayton library ended late fees. Here's what happened.

Imagining a Fine-Free Future.

One year later, fine elimination at Heights Libraries is paying off.

Removing barriers to access.