Yes, it's true - the Hawley Public Library is now a FINE FREE library, which means we'll no longer be charging fines for overdue materials. Our mission at HPL is to support and encourage lifelong learning while advancing literacy, and not charging fines on overdue items allows us to ensure that we provide equal access to all the materials we have available to every single member of our community. Keep scrolling for all the details!
To make life simpler for our patrons, we've implemented an automatic renewal system. When you check out eligible books and movies, your items will be automatically renewed two times. That means you'll get to keep new books for six weeks, 'regular' books for nine weeks, and movies for three weeks without having to do anything other than enjoy what you've borrowed! The only exceptions to automatic renewal are items that other patrons are waiting for or items that we've gotten for you via Interlibrary Loan, and if your account is blocked because you have old fines or lost/damaged items. Visit our Automatic Renewal page for more info.
WHAT ABOUT OLD FINES ON MY ACCOUNT?
As long as you've returned your items, we'll forgive any overdue fines that remain on your account. Fines from last week? GONE. Fines from last year? GONE. Fines from when the library first opened? Even though we don't think they transferred to our computerized catalog, if it turns out something DID, it's GONE, GONE, GONE!
WHAT ABOUT LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM FEES?
If you have fees on your account because you never returned an item or it was damaged when you returned it, you're still responsible for paying those fees.
Still have the item? Just BRING IT BACK, and those fees will be removed from your account.
Don't have the item? You can either pay to replace the item, or purchase a replacement and bring it in if you prefer.
Is your fee damage related? You can either pay to replace the item, or purchase a replacement and bring it in if you prefer.
We understand that paying for lost items may not be financially feasible for everyone, and if your situation makes it difficult to do so, please, TALK TO US. We want you to be able to use your library, and we're happy to work with you to find a solution. Perhaps you'd like to pay a little bit at a time, have other items you can donate instead, or maybe you'd like to volunteer to help us during an upcoming event...we're super flexible, and we don't want anything to stand in the way of your using your library. WE WANT YOU BACK!
WON'T YOU LOSE MONEY BY BEING FINE FREE?
The short answer is yes. But...overdue fines make up a very, very small part of our income, and we typically forgive more than three times the amount we collect. Why? Well, it goes back to us wanting to make sure that everyone in our community has equal access to all the materials we have available. For some folks, a five dollar fine doesn't impact their budget at all. For others, it has a very significant impact that can mean the difference between having enough food or gas money for the week or month. We feel very strongly that a person's ability to pay should never be an obstacle to accessing materials that are offered and available at no charge.
Over the past year, we've done quite a bit of research, and studies have shown that once a library goes fine free people borrow more, the number of non-returned items goes down, and the amount of donations goes up. We didn't charge fines for most of 2020 due to the COVID crisis, and found those statistics were spot on. At staff meetings, we shared our stories about how overdue fines impacted our use of our own local libraries, and nearly all of us had a similar experience...we, for one reason or another at some point, found ourselves with overdue fines on our account, and we either were unable to pay them and/or too embarrassed to visit the library again. For, like, YEARS. We don't want our patrons to EVER feel that way. We want you to love coming to visit us, for you to feel welcome and at home, and free to take out as many items as you'd like without worrying about how much it might cost you if you return them late. Being a fine free library really IS a win-win, for all of us.
LIBRARY HOURS Monday: CLOSED Tuesday: 9:30 AM - 5 PM Wednesday: 9:30 AM - 3 PM Thursday: 9:30 AM - 5 PM Friday: 9:30 AM - 3 PM Saturday: 9:30 AM - 1 PM Sunday: CLOSED