The library is now fine free!

For the last several years, libraries that have ended overdue fines found it led to an increase in patrons, an increase in returns, and an increase in positive patron experiences. Begining January 3, 2023 the Newton Falls Public Library will implement its FINE FREE policy!   

Newton Falls Public Library Fine Free Policy FAQ

Why is the Newton Falls Public Library getting rid of overdue fines?

Our goal is to ensure our customers can enjoy all the materials the library has to offer. Overdue fines can prevent some customers from checking out items if their cards get blocked. Fines do not provide a significant amount of income to the library. As long as customers return library items, we no longer see a need to charge overdue fines.

What does this mean and when will this take effect?
This program will begin on January 3, 2023, and pertains ONLY to items that belong to the Newton Falls Public Library. This means customers will not have to pay an overdue fine for Newton Falls Public Library items checked out after this date except for mobile WiFi hotspots. However, any items checked out through CLEVNET via a hold that do NOT belong to the Newton Falls Public Library are subject to the owning library’s circulation rules.
For example, if a customer receives an item from the Hubbard Public Library via our hold program, they will have to pay any fees assessed by that library--we will not be able to forgive any overdue fines on an item belonging to another library. Please ask a staff person if you need help identifying items that may not be part of our fine-free program.
PLEASE NOTE: Overdue fines will continue to appear on your account, but will be removed when the item is returned.

Does this mean that ALL my fines will be cleared?
No. We can’t waive fines for items that belong to other libraries; we are forgiving fines assessed before the start of this program for overdue charges on Newton Falls Public Library materials ONLY. Any fine for damaged or lost items must also be paid.

Does this mean ALL items are fine free?
No. This applies to the general collection owned by Newton Falls Public Library. Special collections and items, such as Mobile WiFi hotspots, will continue to accrue fines. (See the new fine schedule for more details.)

How will the library protect the community’s investment?
The library, mostly through state and local taxes, provides a diverse and responsive collection of materials to our community. If items are damaged or actually lost, we will continue to assess a fee to replace the material.  If a customer’s fines and/or fees accumulate to over $5.00 they are blocked from using the library. Patrons who are blocked are unable to use any of our library services.  Borrowing and usage privileges will be restored once overdue items are returned and fines and/or fees are under $5.00.

Why do I see overdue fines on my account?
Overdue fines will continue to appear on your account until the item is actually returned to the library. That means that you could be blocked if your fees exceed the $5.00 threshold. This also means that you will not be able to renew the item if your card is in this state. The items will have to be checked back into the system in person, in order for your fines to be removed. Before your account gets to this point, just give us a call and we can renew your items. Again, our fine-free program pertains ONLY to materials owned by the Newton Falls Public Library.

What if I am not finished with my material?
You can come into the library, visit our website, or call us to renew your item. To help you get the most satisfaction from your materials, we allow you to renew Newton Falls Public Library materials three times (some restrictions apply; see back for details). However, if you have more than ONE item overdue, you will not be able to renew anything. The items will have to come back to the library.  It is very important for you to keep track of the due dates. We encourage you to sign up for Net Notice through your CLEVNET account, which will alert you when items are coming due. Staff will be happy to help you sign up for this service.
Don’t forget: Some items can’t be renewed, such as items on hold for other customers. These need to be returned.

How will the library ensure that customers return borrowed items?
If an item is not returned within 21 days of check out or renewal, the customer’s account will be blocked. They will be charged a fee for the value of the item. The customer will not be able to check anything out until the items are returned.


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