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Fine Free

Yorktown Public Library is Now Late Fine Free!

We are proud to be joining libraries across the country by going fine free! We have cleared all existing fines (excluding charges for lost/damaged material). In total, we waived $36,452! Go ahead and login to your account to see for yourself!

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How it Works

So how does a fine free library work?

Ideally, nothing will change! When you check an item out, you are still responsible for returning it by the due date or renewing it if possible. But we will no longer penalize you for being a little late.

When you keep an item out 28 days past its due date, it will be considered “lost” and the current replacement cost of the material will be charged to your account. You can clear this balance by returning the item(s) or replacing lost/damaged material with an identical replacement copy for the collection.

When an item is 60 days past its due date, the charge will be referred to a collection agency for balances over $50. Collection fee charges must be paid once the referral to a collection agency has been made.

Why Go Fine Free?

The YPL Board of Trustees approved our new fine free model in May 2021 as a way to ensure that we would not contribute to any financial hardship for our patrons. We believe that the library should be accessible by all in our community. Late fees served as a deterrent to that accessibility.

In addition, studies show that fines do not serve as an incentive for returning materials on time. In our experience, patrons are often afraid to return overdue materials and stop using the library altogether. That is not what we want! Late fines often impact lower-income areas disproportionately, cutting off access to patrons who need library services.

Staff time can now be better used for other library tasks, rather than processing late fees. This means we are more available to help you and work on making the library even better!

Wondering how we’re able to afford this? Late fees don’t bring in as much revenue as you might expect. Because so many late fees go unpaid, the financial impact to the library is minimal.

Fine Free Policy Report
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I still have a balance on my account? 

We waived fees for late returns only. If you have materials out that have been marked lost or damaged/destroyed, you are responsible for that cost. You may return the item or replace it with an identical copy for our collection to have your account cleared. You are also still responsible for paying any collection agency fees.

Will this make my hold times longer? 

We don’t anticipate our fine free model to affect hold times. As mentioned above, late fees don’t serve as an incentive to return materials on time. Patrons are still responsible for returning materials on time to avoid suspension of borrowing privileges.

What happens when I return an item that has been marked as “lost”? 

In some cases, that will be enough to clear your account. However, if you have been sent to collections, a $10 collection fee may still be present on your account because of the expense that YPL incurs for the collection agency to recover the value of the item(s).

Why not also waive lost/damaged item(s) fees? 

Our collection of materials is a significant investment by taxpayers. It is our responsibility to maintain that collection. When an item is lost or damaged, it must be replaced. It would not be cost effective for the library to purchase the same item multiple times. It’s important that we enforce compensation for lost or damaged materials.

What about Food for Fines? 

Food for Fines was a wonderful twice-annual program for patrons to donate canned goods to a local food pantry in exchange for $1.00 being removed from their account. We will replace this with a standard food drive benefiting the same local food pantry. Our hope is that we will receive even more food donations than before. We will get that information out to the public when the time comes.

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