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Fine Free FAQ

As of January 1st, 2023, the East Greenbush Community Library no longer charges extended use fees, also known as overdue or late fines, for the majority of items returned past the due date. Patrons are still responsible for all other fees, including lost and damaged materials and late charges for specialty items. See below for answers to frequently asked questions.

Why 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 what we offer.
  • Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. During the pandemic, the library stopped charging fines for a number of months. We found that it only had a nominal impact on whether or not materials were returned on time.
  • It’s fiscally responsible. The benefits of going fine free outweigh the costs of managing fines. Due to increasing electronic materials (which do not accrue late fines) and other factors, fines are no longer a sustainable form of revenue for the library. Money collected from fines has gone down steadily for the past ten years, especially with our new auto-renewal service.

What does this mean for me?

  • No more daily fines on overdue books and media.
  • You are still responsible for returning your items. We do want all items back!
  • The library will send you reminders to return your items.
  • Materials that are more than 30 days overdue are assumed lost, and you will be billed for replacement costs. Return the items or make a payment to clear your account. No refunds will be issued after payment is received.
  • Replacement fees and charges for lost or damaged items still apply.
  • Daily charges will accrue on specialty items (Library of Things, Stories to Go Kits, STEM Kits, Laptops, Museum Passes, Hotspots, and Interlibrary Loan). See the table of fines and fees for more information.
  • Fine free applies to items checked out/returned to the East Greenbush Community Library. Items checked out at other libraries must follow borrowing rules from the other library.

Will my previous fines be forgiven?

If you are an East Greenbush cardholder (not UHLS), previously late fines for most items returned past the due date will be forgiven. Patrons are still responsible for all other fees, including lost and damaged materials and late charges for specialty items.

Can I still check out if I owe money on my library account?

Yes, if the amount owed is under $5. Cardholders owing $5 or more will have their accounts blocked until the amount is paid down.

Fines have been waived, so why does my account still have a balance?

While the library is doing away with most overdue fines, fees for lost or damaged materials remain. Fines will still be charged for Library of Things, Stories to Go Kits, STEM Kits, Laptops, Museum Passes, Hotspots, and Interlibrary Loan.

If I check out an East Greenbush Community Library item at another Library, for example one of the many libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS), am I assessed a fine if late?

Maybe. Only items checked out/returned at East Greenbush Community Library are eligible. Items checked out at other libraries must follow borrowing rules from the other library.

How will the library get people to return books?

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” Materials that are more than 30 days overdue are assumed lost, and you will be billed for replacement costs. If you bring back the item, those charges will be removed. Please remember that other people may want the item you borrowed, so don’t hesitate to return it.

If I purchase a book to replace the one I lost, will you accept it for a lost or damamged item?

No. You must pay the cost of the item and associated processing fee for lost and damaged items.

Will any items still accrue fines?

Most books and library materials (not including specialty items) will not have daily late fines incurred. However, no new material may be checked out until all overdue items are returned. Any materials 30 days or more overdue will be deemed lost and the patron billed for full replacement cost.

The following items will be charged a daily late fine:

  • Library of Things
  • Stories to Go Kits
  • STEM Kits
  • Laptops
  • Hotspots
  • Museum Passes
  • Interlibrary Loan

Will I still receive reminders about returning items?

You will still receive email, phone, or text notices (depending on the preferences you have set) for overdue items. After 30 days, the library will send a bill for the items.

How is the library budget affected by the loss of fine income?

Overdue fines on average make up approximately one half of one percent of the library’s annual budget. The library has been able to shift other budget lines to make up for the lost revenue.

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

Yes! Now and in the future, donations to the Friends of the Library or directly to the library can made on our library website, through the mail, or in person. Your donation will support critical library programs and services. Click to make a donation online.

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Daily small charges called fines are “compliance charges” used to incentivize returns, but research has shown that those small fines do not significantly contribute to those returns. Fees are charged for library services and products such as copying, printing, and damaged material replacement costs.

What about e-books and other digital materials?

As always, e-content never accrues any fines and will automatically be returned at the end of the lending period. E-content is always accessible to East Greenbush cardholders regardless of fines or fees on a cardholder’s account.

Subject East Greenbush Card UHLS Card UHLS MyCard
Library Card Registration Free to any individual who resides or pays taxes in the East Greenbush Community Library taxing district or Town of Schodack. Cards expire and must be renewed every three years.

Free to any individual who volunteers or works at the EGRN Library. Cards expire and must be renewed yearly.

Free to partner educational agencies with verified employment. Cards expire and must be renewed yearly.

Those that live outside the UHLS area may purchase a temporary card at the price established by our Table of Fines and Fees. Cards expire and must be renewed yearly.

All ages eligible. Youth under age 16 must have their application completed and signed by a parent or guardian, who provides acceptable identification for them.

Card blocked at $5 or more in replacement costs or fines/fees

Fines vary according to individual library rules and UHLS resource sharing rules. The EGRN Table of Fines and Fees are applicable for items which are checked out from the East Greenbush Community Library

Free to residents residing in a community served by a UHLS library.

All ages eligible. Youth under age 16 must have their application completed and signed by a parent or guardian, who provides acceptable identification for them.

UHLS library cards expire and must be renewed every three years.

Card blocked at $5 or more in replacement costs or fines/fees

Fines vary according to individual library rules and UHLS resource sharing rules. The EGRN Table of Fines and Fees are applicable for items which are checked out from the East Greenbush Community Library

The UHLS MyCard is a fine-free, limited-access library card for youth. It is intended to address multiple barriers to serving youth and families, including:

  • Barriers to access related to fines (e.g. computer access, checking out materials)
  • Parents not present for a child’s library card registration
  • Previous fines on a child’s card

Free for youth residing in a community served by a UHLS library.Applicants 18 and under who are applying for a limited use, UHLS Youth Only MyCard, need to provide name, address, and date of birth.UHLS library cards expire and must be renewed every three years.Youth ages birth to 18 can register unaccompanied, or with the help of a caregiver or relative who is not the child’s parent/guardian.This card may be used at all UHLS Libraries except for the Colonie Town Library.

Card blocked at $10 or more in replacement costs.

No fines for late items

Limits on # of Materials Borrowed Unlimited checkouts Unlimited checkouts Limited total items: Can only have 3 items checked out on their card at a time
Types of Items All eligible item types. All eligible item types except Museum Passes, ILL, and Hot off the Press. Active paid members of the Friends of the East Greenbush Community Library have access to all lending collections. Only items eligible to be borrowed are books (any age level), juvenile and young adult (teen) audiobooks, and juvenile and young adult (teen) DVDs.
Databases/Digital Content EGRN and UHLS subscription databases and digital content UHLS subscription databases and digital content Only items eligible to be borrowed are books (any age level), juvenile and young adult (teen) audiobooks, and juvenile and young adult (teen) DVDs.
Interlibrary Loan Nationwide UHLS Libraries UHLS Libraries
Program Registration Unlimited except by limited program capacity Preference given to resident cardholders Preference given to resident cardholders

Notary

A notary is available during some of the hours the library is open. Please call ahead to ensure availability.

Accessibility Services

Vision

Large print books and audiobooks are available for those who find conventional print too small to read easily.

Low-vision equipment is available for magnification of print materials. Inquire at the Reference Desk.

The NYS Library maintains a free Talking Book and Braille Library service for qualified patrons.

Hearing

Assistive listening devices are available upon request for events held in the large meeting room.

Printing

Printing costs 15¢ per page for single-sided black & white, 30¢ per page for double-sided black & white and 50¢ per page for color. Wireless printing is also available in or to the library from any location, using any device. More info

Copy/Scan/Fax

A self-service color photocopier is available for public use, located outside the children’s room. The charge is $.15 per side for black & white copies and $.50 per side for color copies. Duplexing (double-sided) is available for both color and B&W.

The copier also has the ability to scan color or black & white to an email account. There is no charge to scan documents.

Sending a fax costs $1 per page.

Drive-thru

All materials, excluding “Stories to Go” kits, Library of Things items, and technology items, may be returned in the drive-thru book drop any time. Did you know you can set the drive-thru or checkout desk as your default pickup location?  Find out more