Bethlehem Library Notes for Wednesday, June 15, 2022

— Photo by Kristen Roberts

“Bethlehem Public Library loves Pride Month,” says Kristen Roberts. “Be sure to check out some of the great librarian-recommended titles in our display at the Information Desk because ‘books show us every color of the rainbow.’”

A fine farewell: Great news!

Bethlehem Public Library is going fine free on July 1, 2022. From that day forward, we will no longer charge fines for overdue books and other media.  

Going fine-free means you will no longer receive daily fines on overdue books and media. “No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” You are still responsible for returning your items — we do want them back! 

Replacement fees and charges for lost or damaged items still apply, and fines of $1 per day for Library of Things items and interlibrary loan, as well as $5 per day for museum passes and Wi-Fi hotspots, will remain. Cardholders owing $10 or more will have their accounts blocked until the amount is paid down.

Materials that are more than 30 days overdue are assumed lost, and you will be billed for the replacement costs. However, if you bring back the item, those charges will be dropped. Please remember that other people may want the item you borrowed, so don’t hesitate to return it. 

As always, e-content never accrues any fines and will automatically be returned at the end of the lending period. E-content is always accessible to Bethlehem cardholders regardless of fines or fees on a cardholder’s account. 

Why go fine free?  

Daily small charges called fines are “compliance charges” used to incentivize material returns, but research has shown those small fines do not significantly contribute to those returns. Eliminating those charges reduces barriers to library access and creates a more positive library experience for patrons and staff at the Circulation Desk.

Overdue fines on average make up less than one quarter of one percent of the library’s annual budget. The library has been able to shift other budget lines to make up for the lost revenue. 

If you’ve always thought of paying your fines as a donation to the library, you still can. Donations to the library can be made through the Friends of Bethlehem Public Library. Your donation will support critical library programs and services. To learn more or donate online, visit

Fine-free means judgment-free. If you’ve been avoiding the library because you’re worried about paying fines, we are happy to welcome you back! Click here to register for your new card online (, or give us a call at 518-439-9314 or e-mail us at to check if you already have a card. 

For more information about fine-free lending, visit

Let’s dance! 

Bollywood dancing has long had international appeal for its colorful, theatrical style and unique gestures and movements that are used to tell a story through dance.  

Children in first through fifth grades are invited to learn more about this tradition at our Bollywood Dancing for Kids program on Saturday, June 24, at 11 a.m. Join us on the Green for a demonstration by Narthanalaya School of Arts, followed by instruction and a brief performance.  

Visit our calendar at to sign up. 

Juneteenth reminder

The library will be closed Sunday, June 19, in honor of the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth.