Many of us have had those instances where you have to return a book, CD, magazine, movie, etc. back to the library and it turned into a game of mission impossible to get it into the dropbox before an overdue notice or fee got sent your way.

For those who didn't reach the deadline because they forgot, were embarrassed to return it because it was so overdue or another reason, your stress and anxiety can drop down a few levels as the Ocean County Library has put to bed any daily overdue fines, but there are some exceptions.

Shawn Michaels

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The Ocean County Library Commission announced the decision to go fine free following their June meeting.

A big reason why is as they were combing through the numbers, they discovered that 99.79-percent of people have been returning their materials.

“The Ocean County Library system suspended late fines when the Coronavirus pandemic forced its closure in March 2020,” Ocean County Library Assistant Director Sara Siegler said in a statement. “After the July 2020 reopening, nearly all materials were returned.”

It made the decision to go fine free palatable and in doing so, they hope more people will continue to come in, relax and enjoy all their resources and programs.

“Our Ocean County residents are very responsible about taking care of their Library books and materials and returning them,” Ocean County Library Director Susan Quinn said in a statement. “As a result, the Ocean County Library Commission decided to make the suspension of late fines permanent.”

“Going fine-free provides wider access and enjoyment of the Library’s resources,” Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari, the Library liaison, said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the use of our Libraries.”

Now, again, this doesn't mean you can just take the book or something else home and never bring it back, it's a borrowing library, so you do have to return the item.

This goes across the entire Ocean County Library system, so you can drop of your books at any branch and book drop anytime.

In the event, you miss the return deadline, you will be given a seven day grace period to return the item(s) before your borrowing privileges get suspended or until the cost of replacing the item is paid.

There will no overdue fines except for equipment and materials owned by other libraries and borrowed through the Interlibrary Loan system.

That aside, enjoy some great reading and programs at the Ocean County Library.

“Nothing is more important to the Library than maintaining a healthy relationship with patrons. Saying ‘farewell to fines’ is another step in the right direction," Ocean County Library Commission Chair Ruthanne Scaturro said in a statement.

“It will make using our services more convenient for our patrons who lead busy lives, and for those living with limited resources,” Ocean County Library Commission Vice Chair Christopher Mullins said in a statement.

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