Fines & Fees

The Mahwah Library is now Fine-Free!


We believe our community is stronger, healthier and engages in more robust civil discourse when residents have access to the information they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. We believe late fees and overdue fines act as a barrier to the free flow of information, thereby reducing civic engagement.


Moreover, the Library strives to be known for the quality of its customer service: we want to do our best to connect all residents to the information they need, not badger them about a late fee. Eliminating late fees makes a trip to the library more pleasant for Mahwah residents and frees staff to focus on elevating customer service.

Fine-free applies to overdue fines items owned by the Mahwah Libary, excluding Museum Passes, Devices, and High Demand Items. Fine-free does not include overdue fines on materials owned by other libraries, nor does it include replacement fees for any lost or damaged items.

Fines For Overdue Materials

Fines accumulate daily on all overdue items until the item is renewed, returned, reaches a maximum fine, or is declared lost by either the borrower or the Library.

Item Loan Period Number of
Overdue Fine*

Overdue Fine*

Express DVD
Feature Films     

3 days No
$1/day $5
Express DVD Series
(new releases)
7 days No
$1/day $5
New DVD Feature Films & Series 7 days 1 Fine Free

(other than Express or New)
14 days 2
Fine Free

Video Games
14 days 2 Fine Free

Music CDs 14 days 2 Fine Free

Express Books
(non-holdable new releases)
14 days No
New Books 14 days 1 Fine Free

Audio Books
(books on CD, Playaway)
28 days 2 Fine Free

Other Books 28 days 2 Fine Free

Magazines 14 days 2 Fine Free
eBook Readers 14 days 2 $1/day $5
Playaway Launchpads 14 days No
$1/day $5
WiFi Hotspots 14 days No
$5/day $10
GoPro Hero Camera 7 days No
$5/day $10
Museum Passes 3 days No
$10/day $20
Roku Devices 14 days No
$5/day $20

Note that while we no longer charge late fees for most library materials owned by the Mahwah Public Library, overdue fines are still charged on high demand items and devices.  In addition, every library in BCCLS sets their own overdue fees and you may incur overdue fines on items owned by other libraries. 

While we are pleased to eliminate late fees on items owned by the Mahwah Library, we encourage you to return your materials promptly so they are availabe for others to enjoy.  We will send you a notice when your items are overdue by two weeks, and a second notice when your items are four weeks overdue.  When your items are 60 days overdue, we will send you a bill for the replacement cost of the items and you will be blocked from borrowing or renewing items until your account is settled. 

The Mahwah Library will accept new, identical copies as replacements for items that have been lost or damaged and are less than 90 days overdue.  The full replacement cost must be paid for any items that are over 90 days past due.

Fine Free FAQs:

What items are fine free?  Most items owned by the Library are now fine free, including the vast majority of books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and other items we loan.  The Library will continue to charge late fees on some special collections and high-turnover items, including high demand items, such as Express Books, Express DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs, Museum Passes, WiFi Hotspots, STEM kits and other devices.

Will previous overdue fines be forgiven?  Most outstanding fines for Mahwah Library cardholders for overdue items owned by the Mahwah Library will also be forgiven upon request of the cardholder.  Outstanding late fees on high demand items, museum passes and devices will not be waived, nor will fees for lost or damaged items.

What about items from other libraries?  Other BCCLS libraries may continue to charge late fees for their items.  Late fees will be charged for items owned by other libraries in accordance with their local policies.  Mahwah Library cardholders who accrue fines on items owned by other BCCLS libraries are encouraged to pay those fines online. While we will still accept payment for fines in person, we recommend patrons to pay online so those fines are return to the owning library.
Are other libraries also going fine free?  Many libraries around the region are joining the hundreds of libraries nationwide that have done away with overdue fines in order to encourage use of their libraries.  

Will fees still be collected for lost and damaged items?  Fees for damaged or lost items will still be charged on items owned by the Mahwah Library. In keeping with the Bergen County Cooperative Library System’s policies and procedures, the Library will proactively inform borrowers whose items are past due, giving them ample time to return or replace these items before issuing a lost item bill.  Once a bill is issues, the patron must settle their account before additional items may be borrowed.

Aren’t late fees necessary for the library’s budget?  While a healthy budget is necessary for the Library to provide a robust array of services, late fees represent less than 1% of the Library’s income.  Fine income is also declining each year.  With more people using digital materials like e-books, we can no longer count on late fines to help cover costs.

Aren’t late fees necessary for patrons to return materials on time?  Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates.  Libraries that removed late fees report few adverse affects on material return rates.  Conversely, studies have shown that residents are far less likely to use the library once they have any late fees.  We simply ask that you be considerate of others who are waiting for items and return materials when they are due so that everyone has equal access to our collections.

Automatic Renewals

Effective February 14, 2020, BCCLS automatically renews eligible items checked out to library cardholders.

How do Automatic Renewals Work?

    Eligible items will renew automatically 3 days before their due date for the full loan period.
    You will receive a notification via email or text if an eligible item has been renewed.
    Notification is only via email or text, so be sure we have your current information in our system.
    You can still renew eligible items at any time through your account at or at any BCCLS library.

An item is NOT eligible for Auto-Renew if:

    The item has reached its renewal limit.
    The item is on hold for another patron.
    Your card has expired.
    You owe $10 or more in fines.
    You have 10 or more items overdue.

100 Ridge Road, Mahwah, NJ, 07430 201.529.READ