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We're a Fine-Free Library

We're a Fine-Free Library


The Poudre River Public Library District no longer charges fines on overdue materials.

In 2018, the Library District eliminated overdue and late fines on all children and teen materials. We've now extended this to include ALL Library items (excludes FRCC-Larimer Campus Reserve Room materials).

What Does It Mean for Library Cardholders?

  • No more daily late fines charged on overdue items.
  • We have waived existing extended-use fines from all library accounts, giving everyone a fresh start.
  • Nearly 15,000 people have had their accounts cleared.

Why We're Doing It

We believe in providing equal access to knowledge and information for all. This means actively working to eliminate barriers to access and to encourage community-wide use of the Library's vital materials, resources, and services.

Putting our community first.

Our community thrives when people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their goals or interests, whether it is seeking entertainment, applying for a job, or researching information.

Advancing equity.

Late fines, no matter how small, are a very real and significant burden for many individuals, children, and families. Library fines worsen existing inequities that disproportionately impact people of color and low-income communities. This barrier can discourage many people who rely on the Library the most from coming back.

Improving literacy.

Early literacy skills are crucial to school readiness, so it is important that parents and caregivers from all income-levels in our community have access to materials they can use daily in the home to practice reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing with their children. We are thrilled when we see families checking out a stack of books, and families should be encouraged to do so, rather than be fearful of the late fines that might accrue.


Fine Free FAQs

Yes! Beginning November 1, 2020, all overdue fines will be forgiven and removed from your account.

Please note: The process for clearing accounts of overdue fines may take up to two weeks.

Please return them to the library. You will not be charged any overdue fines.

No. Items that are lost, returned with damaged or missing parts, or otherwise are not returned in the same condition as when they were checked out will be billed accordingly. This includes processing fees.

Those are included in fines-free, too. There are no overdue fines for items loaned through Prospector, Mobius, or our interlibrary loan service. Fees for lost and damaged materials still apply. In some cases, you are also charged a mailing or handling fee just as previously.

You can pay online through our website or via a check which can be dropped off at any of the libraries or at the Webster House Administration Center. You can also mail a check to the Administration Center at 301 East Olive St., Fort Collins, CO 80524. No cash will be accepted.

Not exactly. While you won't be fined for keeping an item beyond it's due date, remember that other people are waiting to enjoy and use the item. Also, after 21 days being overdue, the item is considered "lost" and you will be billed for the replacement cost of the item plus a processing fee.

If you need to hold on to a book, DVD, or other material beyond the original due date, we encourage you to renew the item(s) online or by calling the Answer Center (970-221-6740).

Yes. We will continue to send reminders when your due dates are approaching and when an item is overdue. To ensure that you receive these notices, please check that your email address is current in your account. If you'd like to receive text alerts, please opt in to our text service.

The Library will issue reminders (through email or text message) when due dates are approaching and when an item is overdue. If an item is 21 days overdue, we will consider the item "lost" and the Library will need to charge your account for the item's replacement cost plus a processing fee. Your Library account will be blocked when you accrue $50 in fees for lost or damaged items.

Read more about the Library's borrowing timeline online.

Yes! Our goal is to get our materials back so that they can be enjoyed and checked out by more customers. Once the "lost" materials have been returned, any replacement fees affiliated with them will be removed from your account. If you already paid for your "lost" materials and then return them to us, we will reimburse you for the cost with a check (we do not have cash on hand in our libraries).

Actually, several other libraries that have eliminated late fees have found that their on-time returns go up! Library cardholders understand that it is their duty to return materials so that others in the community can use them.

However, to help further incentivize people to return their materials on time, the Library has updated its lending timeline and increased overdue notifications. After an item is 21 days overdue, the Library considers the item "lost" and bills the customer account for the replacement cost of the item. After 28 days overdue, the customer account may be turned over to a collections agency. The Library continues to collect fees for lost and damaged materials.

While late returns are a reality facing every library community, none of our fellow public libraries which have eliminated overdue fines have experienced increases in late returns, longer hold times, or gaps in the collection. We anticipate the same outcome for our community!

The Library's collection budget is a percentage of the overall budget and won't be effected by the change.

Library fines are a decreasing part of the overall budget. In 2019, overdue fines made up less than 1% of Library General Fund revenue and there is also a collection cost in terms of staff time, keeping cash on hand, banking and accounting. Due to the growing popularity of digital materials and the past elimination of children's and teen materials fines, library revenue from overdue fines has been steadily declining in recent years.



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Poudre River Public Library District, 301 E. Olive Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524, (970) 221-6740
Including the collection of Front Range Community College, Larimer Campus