Important: Due to COVID-19, fines have been suspended; as of April 5, 2021, fines will no longer be charged for any overdue Ventura County Library material.
- Fees will still be charged for lost or damaged items. Borrowers are legally responsible to pay for items lost or damaged beyond normal wear and tear. These charges cover the cost to the library for replacing the item, plus processing.
What does it mean to be Fine Free? Fine Free FAQ
What does fine free mean?
Fine free means no fines will be assessed for overdue items.
Why did the Library decide to eliminate overdue fines?
Public libraries throughout the United States have been eliminating fines for many years and seeing positive results, such as:
- Increased access to materials and services
- Reduction of inequities resulting from overdue fines, especially for children
- Improved customer relationships with the library
- Increased staff time and efficiency
Research shows that small fines do not impact the return rates of materials.
What if I lost or damaged a book?
While the Library eliminated overdue fines, customers are still responsible for fees associated with the replacement of lost or damaged items they check out.
What is the difference between a fine and a fee?
Overdue fines are the daily charges applied to items not returned by their specified due date. These are the fines that will no longer be charged to patrons. Billed-item fees, or just fees, represent the charges applied for lost, damaged, or unreturned materials and are still in effect. In addition, fees are still charged for library services and products such as library cards, copying, printing.
How will the Library encourage people to return overdue items?
Customers are encouraged to return materials in a timely fashion to the Library so others may enjoy these shared resources. Items not returned within 30 days of their due date will go to lost status and customers will be billed for their replacement.
Customers will continue to be responsible for reconciling any lost items or fees on their library account by either returning the items or paying the replacement fee. Customers with an item with a billed status on their library account cannot check out additional physical materials from the library.
Will eliminating overdue fines have any negative impact on Library funding?
Overdue fines account for less than 1% of the library's overall income and this number has decreased over time. Moving forward, going fine free will not significantly impact the budget.
Are other Libraries Fine Free?
The movement to go fine free has enjoyed wide support. This map from the Urban Libraries Council shows other fine free libraries: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/member-resources/fine-free-map
Note: There are no fines or fees for downloadable or streaming e-content!