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Worry-Free Borrowing at the SCLS!

Release Date: May 24, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 

Contact: Kathy Freisinger

Sussex County Main Library

973 948-3660 ext. 3401


Newton, NJ – On Wednesday, April 6, the Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance removing fines for all Sussex County Library System (SCLS) materials except electronics such as Chromebooks and Hotspots, and unique items in limited supply like cake pans and museum passes. As a result, borrowers will no longer be charged a daily overdue fine on books, movies, music or games.

Fine-Forgiveness – we want you back!

Effective Tuesday, May 17, old fines have been purged from borrower records. Anyone previously barred from checking out library materials because of unpaid fines; or holding on to overdue materials because they were worried about paying the accrued fines, should stop in their local branch to make sure their card is still active and start using the library again.

 “One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it showed us how little impact overdue fines have on actually getting our books back. Having seen that, along with the feedback we were getting from other NJ libraries, it became clear that it was costing us more to collect overdue fines than we were taking in from charging them,” stated Library Director Will Porter.

“More personally, I found in talking with members of the community that a number of Sussex County residents who rely on the Library most—kids and teens who can’t always control when they can get back to the Library, seniors on fixed incomes, working parents—risked losing access to the Library for something as simple as forgetting to return items before going out of town. That’s never been what overdue fines were supposed to be for.”

Although borrowers will no longer be charged a daily overdue fine on books, movies, music or games, library items still need to be returned or renewed by their due dates. To help with on-time returns, all eligible items will continue to be automatically renewed up to three times. Unreturned items will eventually be considered lost, and the borrower charged the full price of the item plus a processing fee.

SCLS library cards are free to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Sussex County (except Sparta). To learn more stop by your local branch or go to