Fine Free

The Abington Township Public Library is excited to announce that starting in 2024 we are fine free and are no longer collecting fines on overdue items!

What fine free means for you:

  • You will no longer receive a daily late fine on overdue items, except for museum passes, hotspots, connected Chromebooks, and turntables.   
  • You are still responsible for returning your items. We do want all items back!   
  • The library will send you a series of reminders to return your items (see Reminders Schedule below)   
  • Items that are overdue by 28 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.

Reminder Schedule:

  • Almost due + auto-renewal email – 4 days before due date   
  • Overdue notices:
    • 1st notice – 7 days after due date
    • 2nd notice – 21 days after due date
    • Bill – 28 days after due date

Loan Periods & Fees: 

See Loan Periods, Limits, and Charges

Why did the library go fine free?

  • It’s good for our community. Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience our offerings.   
  • Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. According to “Removing Barriers to Access” a Colorado State Library whitepaper, “The scant research on the impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit to administering these policies and may be costly to enforce.”   
  • It’s fiscally responsible. Due to the rise in electronic materials (which do not accrue late fines), the fine free policies of nearby MCLINC libraries, and other factors, fines are not a sustainable form of revenue for the library. Money collected from fines and fees has gone down steadily for the past few years.

When does the fine free policy go into effect?

The Abington Township Public Library will be fine free as of January 1, 2024.

What materials are fine free?

The easiest answer is everything at both the Abington Free Library and the Roslyn Library EXCEPT museum passes and hotspots, connected Chromebooks, and turntables. All books, magazines, audiobooks, music, DVDs, video games, and toys. As a reminder, eBooks have never accrued fines.

Check out your access to digital media, including eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, streaming movies and television, and more on our Digital Branch. 

Why do museum passes, hotspots, Chromebooks, and turntables still accrue fines?

Due to the popularity and cost associated, fines will still be accrued on all museum and cultural passes, hotspots, Chromebooks, and turntables. We want as many members of our community to be able to take advantage of these wonderful collections.

Will my existing overdue fines be forgiven, even if I have materials at home that are long overdue?

Yes! All Abington Township Public Library cardholders with overdue fines on their account are eligible to have them removed effective January 1, 2024. We want to put overdue materials back into circulation so that they can be enjoyed by more patrons, so when you bring back those overdue books, DVDS, and CDs, we’ll forgive any related overdue fines.

This doesn’t just apply to materials that are a day or a week late—if you’re still hanging on to a book you checked out before cell phones were a thing, we’ll gladly take it back, waive the overdue fines, and remove any related lost fees, too! You can return your items to our either of our libraries, inside at the desk or at the drop boxes outside.

Will lost or damaged fees also be forgiven?

No. Because we need to replace lost or damaged materials, patrons are still responsible for costs associated with those materials.

How will the Library encourage people to return their overdue materials?

We will provide an email reminder four days before materials are due. At this time you may also receive information about your material being auto-renewed. For more information about auto-renewal, please visit our Renewal page.

We also send out overdue notices at 7 days overdue and 21 days overdue.

After 28 days, we will assume that overdue materials are lost and notify the patron by sending a bill. At that point, the patron will be responsible for the cost or replacement of the materials.

Once the cost of lost materials totals $30 or more on an account, patrons will be unable to check out physical materials or request Interlibrary Loans until the materials have been returned or their lost fees paid or patrons have entered into an agreement for a Payment Plan.

Does this impact Payment Plans for accounts with more than $30 owed?

No, Payment Plans continue as instituted.  If a patron owes more than $30 for ATPL billed items, they may sign up for a Payment Plan. The plan allows them to borrow two (2) ATPL items while making payments on their account.  Payment plans do not apply to billed items from other libraries.  Contact the circulation desk for more details.

I have always thought of paying my fines as my donation to the library. Can I still donate?

Yes! Your donations continue to help support the library’s critical mission to educate, empower, and engage our community through programs, resources, and services. There are many ways you can donate to the library. Find out about them on our Donate page. There is a donation box located at the circulation desk at both the Abington Free Library and the Roslyn Library.

How will the new fine free policy affect the holds list?

Many libraries that have gone fine free have actually seen an increase in the return rate of overdue materials, and we’re anticipating the same happy result! As always, our staff will continue to monitor the holds list and purchase additional copies of popular materials as necessary.

What if I frequent a number of MCLINC libraries? Is all of MCLINC fine free?

MCLINC is a consortium and not a system, which means each individual library has its own rules. That being said, many MCLINC libraries are currently fine free, including the libraries closest to us. By returning your materials (from any MCLINC library) to a fine free library, your library account will not accrue fines.

Any material regardless of home library returned to Abington Township Public Library will be considered fine free (except our museum passes and hotspots, connected Chromebooks, and turntables or similar collections from other libraries.)

Will people return items if there are no late fees?

Many libraries have gone fine free in the past ten years, nationally and locally. Most find that materials are returned at similar rates, if not better rates, than those who have a fine policy in place.

We will continue to monitor how this policy change affects patrons and will make improvements to our policies and procedures as necessary.

How will the elimination of fines affect the library’s budget?

Library fines in the past few years totaled just 0.8% or less of the library’s budget. We are grateful that the Board of Commissioners approved a budget with increased appropriations for the library to compensate for this loss in revenue.

What should I do if I see a late fine on my account?

Abington Township Public Library cardholders, please contact the library through email, call us at 215-885-5180 ,ext. 110, or come in and speak with someone at the circulation desk.

Cardholders from other libraries, please contact your home library for more information.

Need a library card?

You can apply online by visiting Get a Library Card.