Starting in January, library fines are expected to be a thing of the past in Oak Bluffs after the town selectmen agreed to eliminate fines for overdue books.

Library director Allyson Malik came before the selectmen Tuesday to propose eliminating the fees. She said all six Island public libraries have gotten a green light from the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) executive board, the regional network that administers rules and connects libraries throughout the Cape and Islands, to eliminate late fines.

She also said the initiative follows the lead set by other libraries around the country, including the Boston Public Library.

“Research shows that late funds are punitive and only go toward creating a barrier for those that require library services the most,” Ms. Malik told the selectmen. “Fines for overdue materials prevent low-income families, caregivers, and especially children. . . from using their library.”

She said while it may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that people are more willing to return library materials if there is no penalty.

Late fees brought in $4,036 last year. The money goes into the town’s general fund, and does not affect the library’s budget, Ms. Malik said.

Selectmen enthusiastically endorsed the idea.

“The two most sacred things which the people in the town own are the libraries and the parks,” selectman Gail Barmakian said. “It’s a wonderful idea.”

Ms. Malik concurred. “Just as the public trusts these materials here, we also trust the public,” the librarian said. “Having these small little fines to try to generate some sense of consciousness is not a huge show of trust on our part.”

The decision will hinge on other town libraries adopting the no-fee plan, since the libraries all share the same network. “It’s important we’re all on the same page,” Ms. Malik said.

In other business Tuesday, selectmen voted to award a contract for the North Bluff beach restoration project to Dig It Construction of Dennis.

The company was the low bidder out of four contractors that submitted bids, coming in at $690,359. The high bidder was Coastal Marine Construction of Canton, which bid at $1.38 million. Dig It will be responsible for building and laying new timber groins once the town has put down fresh sand dredged from Sengekontacket Pond.

In a related vote, selectmen approved a cooperative agreement with the town of Edgartown to buy 16,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the Edgartown side of Sengekontacket for $18 per cubic yard, totaling $288,000, for the beach restoration project.

Funds for both projects were approved by voters at a special town meeting last week.

The Cardboard Box, a downtown restaurant and bar, will become a year-round establishment after selectmen approved a request to change the liquor license from seasonal to annual.

“We want to push forward and turn The Cardboard Box into a year-round establishment,” owner Ben deForest told the board. “Another place to eat and drink in the dark, cold months.”

Ms. Barmakian raised slight concern that the eatery could drift more toward bar than restaurant.

Mr. deForest responded: “I’m not a nightclub guy. . . I cook for a living and that’s what I want to keep doing. Things are going to carry on very much the same.”

Two other downtown restaurants were granted entertainment licenses. Dos Mas will be allowed to use one guitar and one bass amplifier from Monday to Saturday until midnight, and Sweet Life Cafe was granted approval to use one guitar and one bass amplifier from noon to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, midnight on Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Finally, town administrator Robert Whritenour delivered an optimistic update on town finances.

He said the total town expenses through Nov. 15 are $12.75 million, a slight increase over this time last year, representing 40.6 per cent of the total budget. He pointed to several large overhead items and said he expects things to balance out in the second half of the fiscal year.

Mr. Whritenour said revenue is up 15.2 per cent to date over last year, primarily due to increased vehicle excise collection, harbor receipts and investment income.