Fine Free FAQ

Summary

• No fines are charged for material checked out at a fines free location.
• Cards are blocked when an item hits 14 or 15 days overdue. Blocks may or may not include renewal and econtent checkouts.
• Overdue material is automatically billed to a patron at 45 days overdue.

 

Which items are fine-free? 

Who would be eligible to be fine-free?

When will items be billed? 

Can we block patrons for overdue items before they are billed? 

If we are fine free, should we still accept payments for other libraries' fines? 

Which CCS libraries are fine free?

Do patrons who check out at fine free libraries show estimated fines in their account?

Is CCS able to bulk waive existing overdue fees if we opt to go fine free?

What data have other CCS libraries presented to their boards when asking them to consider going fine free?


Which items are fine-free? 

Items checked out at a fine free library will not accumulate fines if overdue, regardless of where the items are returned to.


For example, if a patron checks out at a fine-free library, those items will not accumulate fines. If that same patron checks out at a fine library, any items they check out there will accumulate fines. As a fine free library, all items checked out at that location - including intra-CCS holds - would be fine free.

Libraries can optionally choose to charge fines for select fine codes, such as equipment or rental, while not charging overdue fees for all other fine codes. 

 

Who would be eligible to be fine-free?
Eligibility for being fine free can be set by patron code. Libraries can decide if they only want checkouts to local patrons to be fine free or checkouts to all CCS patrons to be fine free. At this time, almost all fine free libraries in CCS are fine free for all patrons who check out at their location. CCS strongly recommends any new fine free libraries follow this model.

 

When will items be billed? 
Items will continue to be automatically billed to patrons when 45 days overdue.

 

Can we block patrons for overdue items before they are billed? 

Yes. In order to manage overdue items before they are billed, fine free libraries can establish a "long overdue" threshold and block patrons for having long overdue items. The long overdue setting is a way to give patrons a nudge to bring items back before they are billed:
• At 2 weeks (or 15 days) all fines free libraries block checkouts. This includes check outs at the desk and self-check, as well as access to services that authenticate via SIP.
• Libraries have an additional option to block renewals (renewing on the PAC, through telephony, and auto-renew)

 

If we are fine free, should we still accept payments for other libraries' fines? 
Yes, all libraries must accept payment for fine and fees, regardless of local fine practices. Libraries keep all payments accepted at their location.

 
 
 
 
 

Which CCS libraries are fine free?

 

Do patrons who check out at fine free libraries show estimated fines in their account?

Provided they checked out the materials at a fine-free location, overdue items will not show estimated overdue fees in the patron's account. In the screen shot below, the test overdue items were due in November, but are showing estimated overdue fees of $0 as of January 7. (As a reminder, CCS libraries do not block for estimated fines).

 

January 2020

Is CCS able to bulk waive existing overdue fees if we opt to go fine free?

When a library goes fine free, fines will not accumulate moving forward, but existing fines will remain on patron accounts. Unfortunately at this time, Polaris does not currently have a feature that allows staff to bulk forgive or waive fines within Leap or the client.  

Innovative and CCS completed an opt-in overdue fine waive for participating fine-free libraries in July 2020. CCS plans to do another opt-in waive of overdue fees in January 2021, and then annually moving forward. If a library would like a bulk fine waive outside of the scheduled CCS waives, the library may contract with Innovative to waive existing overdue fines for a fee. Please contact CCS if interested in this option.

Some fine-free libraries have chosen to manually waive overdue fees on patron accounts. CCS can help libraries generate reports to identify patrons with overdue fees so that staff can concentrate their efforts on bulk waiving overdue fees. Please email help@ccslib.org for assistance with generating a report. 

Encourage Innovative to develop a bulk waive feature by voting in the Idea Lab!

What data have other CCS libraries presented to their boards when asking them to consider going fine free?

The Northbrook Public Library has kindly shared their fine free board presentation, which includes references to the following resources:

Many libraries have reached out to CCS for assistance gathering ILS data to supplement fine free discussions at their library. CCS has created a report for all libraries that includes the data points consistently requested by libraries considering going fine free. This report is called "Fine Free Analysis" and is available in Web Reports under the "Extra Special" section.

 
 

Libraries can email help@ccslib.org for assistance generating additional reports.