FINE-FREE POLICY INFORMATION
Fortville-Vernon Township Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines effective July 19, 2022. FVTPL is thrilled to remove this barrier to our resources and to provide more equitable library access to everyone in our community.
Why eliminate fines?
Digital materials are never “overdue” and never have fines. If you have the means to buy a digital device, you can avoid overdue fines. If you have the means to obtain Internet access, you can bypass the physical library and fines altogether. Hence fines disproportionately affect people at the bottom end of the socioeconomic status or those that live where the Internet is unavailable.
Automatic renewal also drastically reduces overdue fines. During the pandemic, no fines were charged and we saw no change in the rate of material returns. Research has shown that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library materials. However, fines can quickly become a barrier to using the library.
We know that life happens sometimes and it can be difficult to return items on time, so we don’t want overdue fines to discourage patrons from the invaluable free technology, literacy, and lifelong learning resources that our libraries offer.
Fines are not a significant source of income for the library. Based on the past four-year average, the amount of money received from fines accounted for less than .4% of the entire budget. The small amount of money received from fines does not balance out the barriers to accessing the library that fines can create for some families.
Patrons no longer need to worry about overdue fines in the future or the past. All existing FVTPL overdue fines have been waived.
Every item checked out will still have a due date. Please remember that someone else may be waiting for an item, so bring it back on time. You will receive an overdue notice through text or email at 7, 14, and 28 days. If someone else has placed a hold on an item, it will not be automatically renewed.
When materials are automatically renewed, patrons receive notification of items renewed and a new due date via email/text. If materials cannot be renewed (hold, renewal limit met, etc.), patrons are notified and an overdue notice is generated.
Renewal limits are as follows:
- New books – 1 renewal
- New movies and television series – no renewals
- New audiobooks – 1 renewal
- Books – 2 renewals
- Movies and television series – 1 renewal
- Audiobooks – 2 renewals
Damaged or Lost Items
Our fine-free initiative applies only to overdue items. Fees for damaged or lost items will still be charged to cardholder accounts.
Once your card reaches a total of 15 overdue items, your library account will be blocked. When that happens, you will not be able to check out more items or access certain digital content until the overdue items are returned. You will be billed for the overdue items when they have been overdue for 28 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a card with old late fines on it. Can I still use it?
Yes! All existing overdue fines have been waived. Some patrons may still see charges for lost or damaged items. Please get in touch with us if you have questions about your account.
What about the lost revenue that overdue fines generated? How can I support the library?
The revenue from overdue fines was less than one percent of FVTPL’s budget. (.37%, to be exact). You can donate directly if you want to help the library.
I found an item that I’m being charged for as “lost.” Can I bring it back?
Yes, please do! There won’t be any overdue fines, but you may still be responsible if a replacement has already been purchased by the library.
Why did you decide to eliminate overdue fines?
In January 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) passed a resolution that asserted overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them. The ALA is our largest professional organization and we give serious consideration to their resolutions.
In going fine-free, we are joining the ranks of many other public libraries across the nation.