Fine Free Policy

Effective: July 1, 2023

It is the goal of Patten Free Library to provide equal access to information and knowledge for all citizens. To further this goal, Patten Free Library is adopting a fine-free policy, consistent with the American Library Association’s Resolution on Monetary Fines as a form of Social Inequity (ALA, 2019).

Daily fees will not be incurred for items with a standard three-week loan period, and billed items will incur no fee upon return. Fines will remain in place for specialized items that have shorter loan periods, e.g., binoculars and telescope, and children’s exploration backpacks.

In all cases, library users are still responsible for the cost of lost, damaged, or unreturned items. Library users are expected to return items by the due date, or to renew those items before or on the due date. When an item is past its due date, library users will be notified. If an item is not returned, a bill will be sent and lending privileges suspended until the item is returned or paid for. Replacement costs for items that are returned damaged beyond the extent of normal wear and tear will likewise be billed.

It is our belief that libraries exist to enrich their communities and strive to provide open access to all patrons. The elimination of daily fines for late materials will encourage the return of library materials and reinforce the positive relationship with our users.

Approved by the Patten Free Library Board of Trustees 6/13/23

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