Cumberland County Public Libraries no longer charge late fees for overdue items like books and DVDs. The library will also not charge for long overdue or lost fees on these items. The goal is to increase access to library services for previously blocked customers, particularly young borrowers. The change does not include laptops, hotspots or Playaway Launchpads.
The library system charged $.20 per day per item with a maximum of $5 per item charged. Borrowers were blocked from checking out materials if they had $10 in late fees. Approximately one-third of library card accounts are inactive, with fees preventing those cardholders from using library resources.
Public Library Director Faith Phillips requested the change to the County Board of Commissioners, who approved dismissing charges in their August meeting. Phillips told the board that library systems that have gone late-fee free have experienced a huge return of customers, broken down barriers to access, increased the community members they serve, experienced a huge amount of good will within the community, ensured their practices meet industry standards and been fiscally responsible.
Phillips estimated that late fees generate about $33,600 a year in revenue for the library system and that the County could recoup that funding by no longer paying a collection agency to recover lost materials and by seeking grant opportunities.
September is National Library Card Sign Up Month and Cumberland County Public Library is inviting all residents to join the library. This card will give you access to technology, resources and services to help encourage expression, enlightenment and exploration.
For more information about signing up for a library card, returning long overdue items, or in-person and virtual programs at the library, please visit cumberlandcountync.gov/library and follow them on social media.