Collingswood Public Library Goes Fine-Free for Youth Materials

The Collingswood Public Library is proud to announce that, effective June 1, 2023, extended use fees will not accrue on most children’s and teen’s materials – no matter the age of the person checking out the items.

The library is excited to follow the practice of many libraries around the country by removing this potential barrier to library services.  The American Library Association asserted in a 2019 policy statement “that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”  To that end, many libraries across the country have chosen to reduce or remove fines. The result has been an equivalent rate of return on items, a greater retention of library users, and improved patron satisfaction.

While extended use fees may encourage some patrons to return items sooner, the greater cost for our community is the loss of young borrowers and their families due to fear, shame, or inability to pay fees.  The traditional reliance on library fees to teach responsibility is misguided; parents and guardians are better suited for teaching children to return materials responsibly. 

The Collingswood Public Library’s mission is to serve the local community’s informational, educational, cultural, and social needs through open access to a wide range of ideas, resources, and services.  Putting an end to extended use fees on youth items is one effective way to remove a barrier to access for our young patrons.  Removing these fees will allow more users to access our collections for educational and personal development. 

The library will still encourage patrons to bring back youth materials on time to make them available for others.  To that end, the following guidelines will apply:

  • Most materials in the juvenile and teen collections -- including books and CDs -- will not accrue fees, regardless of the type of library card, as long as the materials are returned in good condition.
  • Adult materials such as DVDs, Interlibrary loans, games, adult books, magazines, museum passes, and craft kits will still accrue extended use fees.
  • All library users will continue to be charged for lost or damaged items.
  • Any patron account will be suspended once an item is 7 days overdue. Though youth items will not accrue fees, accounts will remain suspended until all overdue items are returned.

The Collingswood Public Library will kick-off the 2023 Summer Reading Program on June 24th, with a “Chalk the Walk” event at Tatem Elementary School from 10 am to 12 pm.  More details about summer reading and the library – including its collections, programs, and services, please visit our website at:

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