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Fines & Fees

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We're fine-free!

Effective March 10, 2021, the Lincoln Public Library does not collect overdue fines for library materials.

Our library is a community investment, so we trust that you'll bring your library materials back on time so that others can enjoy them. That's why we don't charge you overdue fines on those occasions when life gets hectic and you miss the due date by a day or two. This move ensures that all members of our community have equitable access to the resources at the Library.

We will also be waiving all outstanding overdue fines from patron accounts. No exceptions, no questions, no hassle. You are fabulously fine free. This process will take some time, so we appreciate your patience while we waive overdue fines throughout the system.

Library Fees

While the Library does not charge overdue fines, other fees are charged. These fees are set by the City Council as part of the City's Master Fee schedule.

Replacement for lost or damaged items

Cost of item, plus $7.50 processing fee

Copies/Printing – Black & white

$ .25 per page

Copies/Printing -- Color

$ .50 per page

Faxes/Scans

$1.00 per page

Replacement library card

$1.00

Replacement Audiobook Disc

$10.00, where possible

Broken case replacement (DVD, CD, audio book)

$5.00

Lost Items: Items are declared lost when 14 days overdue; at this point the borrowing patron is charged the replacement fees for the item. Patrons who have lost an item may also have staff mark the item as lost in order to pay off the fees proactively. 

Fine & Fee Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Library decide to eliminate overdue fines?

It's good for our community! Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. Libraries are a place open to anyone and everyone.

Overdue fines are a barrier to access, especially for the economically disadvantaged members of our community who can most benefit from the Library resources. They cause people to stop using the library when they can't pay their fees, despite returning all of their items in good condition - or, they keep people from ever coming into the Library to begin with.

In addition, fine-free libraries across the country have found that eliminating fines and fees does not negatively impact when items are returned - library lovers just like you return items because you know others are waiting for them, not because of a $0.25 fine. Instead, eliminating overdue fines increases staff time for more valuable tasks, improves community relationships, increases access to resources, and encourages the return of library materials.

Does this mean I can keep my items as long as I want?

Not quite - all of our items still have a due date and a limited number of renewals, so that all members of our community can enjoy the collection. If an item is 14 days or more overdue, our system marks the item as "lost" and you're charged the replacement fees for the item. Still have the item? No problem - drop the item in our book drops and the fees will be waived when it's checked in.

What about overdue fines I already have on my account?

We are in the process of waiving all existing overdue fines. This will be done automatically over the next few weeks. Want to borrow some items sooner? Staff will clear your fines at the front desk.

I paid overdue fines previously - can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, we are not able to refund previously paid overdue fines.

What about the loss of revenue from overdue fines?

In the 2019 fiscal year, staff spent $16,000 worth of professional time collecting $15,000 worth of overdue fines. This means there is no net financial benefit to collecting these fines, and the revenue made up only 2% of our operating budget. We are able to accommodate this change in revenue without decreasing services.

In fact, with the elimination of overdue fines, we're going to use those hundreds of staff hours to provide better services to the community.  If you want to help support these services, please join the Friends of the Lincoln Library. For a small annual membership fee, you can support many of the programs and resources the Library offers.