Frequently Asked Fine Questions

In order to reduce barriers and promote equitable access for all members of the community, we don't charge fines for overdue returns! Here's how it works!

  • What happens if I don’t return my items by the due date?

    Items that are 21 days overdue are assumed to be lost and you will receive a bill for them, however, once the items are returned in good condition, the charge will be removed and your account will resume good standing without any payment.

  • If you don't charge overdue fines, why does my account have a balance?

    Overdue fines are a daily penalty assessed for the late return of items. We do not charge overdue fines. Your balance is for replacement fees for items that are assumed to be lost or were returned with damaged or missing parts. The fees are assessed to replace these items.

  • I found a book that was due six months ago. What should I do with it?
    Bring it back! Even if you’ve had it for years, you can still return it and use the Library with no overdue fines or replacement fees for that item.

  • Will you issue refunds or credits for previous replacement fee payments or overdue fines?
    No. Once an item is paid for, it is effectively “purchased.” If an item is returned after a partial payment, the remainder due will be waived, but no credit will be issued for what has been paid.

  • What about exceptional circumstances?
    Please ask to speak to a Library supervisor.

  • Does this apply to all types of materials? Yes.

  • Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?

    Yes, we use a robust notification schedule, notifying you multiple times before (and after) you are billed a replacement fee. Please be sure your phone, email, and mailing address are current.

  • What if I can't return my materials? Can I still borrow from the Library?

    If you owe less than $20, you can still check out items. For accounts owing more, payment plans are available––you can pay 10% of the amount due each time you check out items until your account has no balance. Alternately, you can enroll in our Care Fee Option Program to remove fees just by checking out material, or you can participate in our annual Food for Fees program!

  • Do I still have to pay an overdue fine or collection agency fee that was on my account prior to the policy change on March 1, 2020?

    No, these were waived.

  • Why the change?

    The overall goal is to facilitate our mission to provide free and equitable access to all members of the community while still requiring patrons to be responsible borrowers.

  • Without overdue fines, will other patrons return materials in a timely manner?

    Libraries across the country that eliminate overdue fines report that patrons return items on time, that more items are checked out, and that interactions between staff and patrons are more positive.

  • How will the elimination of overdue fines affect the Library’s budget?

    Due to the costs associated with tracking and collecting overdue fines, studies have shown that charging them is nearly cost-neutral. Overdue fine revenue constitutes less than 1% of our annual operating budget.

Read the full press release from March 2020.