Russell Library is
Fine Free!

Why did the library remove fines?

Overdue fines are a major barrier to large numbers of people, including children, lower-income individuals, and seniors on fixed incomes. Often when overdue fines accumulate on someone’s card, they simply stop using the library altogether. That is the opposite of what we want. We want all members of the community to use the library equally.


Libraries nationwide are going fine-free to remain useful, relevant, foster equity, and promote easy access to lifelong learning for all.

Any other reasons?

Yes! We want our interactions with you, our patrons, to be pleasant and productive. Rather than “nickel and diming” you at the desk, we would prefer to spend that time recommending great new reads, planning events, and opening up a world of possibilities for our community.


Our community is stronger and healthier when all people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals, regardless of their ability to pay for them.

Russell Library and Fine Freedom

The Library has not charged overdue fees on children’s and teen materials checked out on children’s and teen cards since 2017. Our digital/downloadable materials have always been fine-free. Now we are offering Fine Freedom for everyone.


There are a lot of questions when a library goes fine-free. Check out some of the most common below.

Will everything be fine-free?

Yes. No overdue fines will be charged on any item types.

What if I have old overdue fines on my account?

Overdue fines will be wiped clean for a fresh start beginning July 1, 2020. However, you are still expected to return all overdue items that are on your card or pay the replacement cost for the item(s).

What if I have fines from another library?

You are still responsible for paying overdue fines to other libraries that charge them. All items borrowed from other libraries are subject to the lending policies of the owning library.

If you check out or renew items while visiting another library in the LCI consortium, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy.

What if my privileges from another library in our consortium are suspended?

Your borrowing privileges at all consortium libraries must be in good standing in order to check out materials from the Russell Library.

I like to give a little donation to the library if I return my items late. May I still do that?

Absolutely! Donation jars are available in the lobby and you can donate by credit card at the desk. You can also donate online at our website.

Will I still have to pay for printing and photocopying?

Yes. While overdue fines are punitive, fees for printing and photocopying help us to recoup the cost of providing those services and associated materials such as printers, copiers, paper, and toner.

Won't the library lose a lot of revenue?

Fine revenue accounts for less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the library’s total revenue.

Won't people just check things out and never return them?

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility”. If your item is overdue more than one loan period, then the item will be assumed lost and you will be charged the full replacement cost of the item. Your card privileges will be suspended until you return or replace the item or pay the replacement cost.

Don't overdue fines encourage people to return items on time?

There is no evidence that shows this to be true. In fact, when the Chicago Public Library eliminated overdue fines in 2019, they saw a 240% increase in the number of items returned. Also, if library fines worked the way they were intended, revenue would be $0 anyway because all materials would be returned on time!

You can still help the library by making a donation

Russell Library is here for you, but we couldn’t do it without the generous support of our benefactors.

If you would like to show your appreciation for all we offer our community, online giving is secure and easy.

We even take PayPal!

Your donation will instantly help us provide world-class library services in the heart of Middletown.

Russell Library

123 Broad Street
Middletown CT 06457




Online Calendar

Library Hours

Mon-Thurs 9am-8pm
Fri-Sat 9am-5pm
Sunday 1-5pm (October-March)