LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Lewis County has become the first county in the North Country Library System to go completely fine-free for patrons of all ages.

On May 16, the organization announced that all 12 libraries in Lewis County have permanently eliminated overdue fines for late items. The decision comes after a national movement to eliminate fines was started. NCLS Executive Director Paulette Roes further explained the reasoning behind the decision.

“We’ve found that overdue fines have little to no impact on people returning items on time,” Roes said. “Eliminating fines makes it easier for everyone to use the library, and that’s what we want to see – more people using these amazing community resources.”

The NCLS also stated that with overdue fines in place, patrons in Lewis County were typically blocked from borrowing items if they had accrued more than five dollars in fines. Prior to the announcement of the new rule 823 cards belonging to Lewis County residents were blocked, 125 which belonged to children or teens.

Lowville Free Library Director Meghan Harney also expressed her support for the new rule.

“I’m proud to see Lewis County be the first fine-free county in the North County,” Harney said. “Fine-free libraries have both research and relationships behind them, and I’m so excited to see how this is playing out in our communities.”

The Lewis County libraries that are implementing the new policy are listed below.

  • Beaver Falls Library
  • Brantingham-Greig Reading Center
  • Constableville Library
  • Croghan Free Library
  • Harrisville Free Library
  • Lowville Free Library
  • Lyons Falls Library
  • William H. Bush Memorial Library (Martinsburg)
  • Osceola Public Library
  • Port Leyden Community Library
  • Town of Lewis Library (West Leyden)
  • B. Elizabeth Strong Memorial Library (Turin)

More information about the North Country Library System can be found on the organization’s website.