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Monroe County library joins other libraries, goes fine-free

Libraries across the state are dropping overdue fines, including the Eastern Monroe Public Library.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroud Township wants to continue making reading more accessible to the community. That's why they're turning the page and going fine-free.

Susan Lyons, Eastern Monroe Public Library director, said that they're "just wiping [the fines] out."

"That means if you have an overdue book, bring it back a few days late; there are no fines at all," Lyons said. She also said that this applies to all the fines on the record.

Lyons said they're able to get rid of fines because the income it provides is less than one percent of the library's revenue.

Shayla Broccoli of Stroud Township showed up to get some books and was surprised by the good news.

"I just found out I didn't have fines because I did have fines," Broccoli said. "So that's relieving to hear."

Kathy Parrish of Stroudsburg is a lifelong library member. She said she believes that fines may have deterred people from coming to the library.

"I think it's going to be beneficial for people who have children where they misplace books, but then you find them two months later, but now the fine costs more than the book is even worth," Parrish said. "I also think there is a portion of society monetarily that it might not actually make them not want to come to the library."

Just because the library is going fine-free doesn't mean members don't have to return the books. After 60 days, they'll be charged a fee.

"If they're really overdue, then there's a replacement fee. So it's not a fine, but if the book costs us $25 and we have to replace it, you know you have to pay the fee," Lyons said.

Library employees hope this will encourage people that have very late materials to bring them back in so others can enjoy them.

"We're doing even an automatic renewal for one time. If the book is eligible for renewal, they can renew it again, so we want to make it as easy as possible for people to check out our books and get them back," Lyons said.

The library is just one of the hundreds across the county and state who are ditching the fines.

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