Continuing Education: Eliminating Fines

Eliminating library fines has been getting more and more attention lately.

Chicago recently eliminated late fees and “[t]he number of book returns has since increased 240%” (Forbes, 2019). Denver also announced back in January that they were going fine free and “zeroing out most customers’ existing overdue balances so they can start fresh” (Denver Library, 2019) citing their belief in “free and equal access for all.” Some libraries, like Lincoln City Libraries, are eliminating late fees for youth materials which are “an unnecessary barrier for children who often lack the autonomy or ability to return library materials on time, and for families who cannot afford to pay them” (Lincoln City Libraries, 2019). The idea behind eliminating fines really goes back to increasing access and breaking down barriers for library users. But is this the right move for every library? How do you decide or implement this kind of initiative?

There are many arguments for and against eliminating library fines, but if you’ve been having this discussion in your library or are interested in finding out more, the resources and webinars below should help start your search.

Purple background. Text in lower right corner "To fine or not to fine?" light green bottom border with text "Eliminating library fines." Left side of image alternating icons of coins and books.



  • Upcoming Nov. 20th – “Eliminating Fines: A win-win for your library and community” (Infopeople)
    • “You will hear how eliminating fines can lead to an increase in library use and circulation, with no negative effects.”
  • Recorded – “NCompass Live: Eliminating Late Fines is a Win-Win for Your Library and Community” (NLC)
    • “In this session, Beth [Crist] and Meg [DePriest] will review the research and results from the growing number of libraries across the country that have ditched late fines and coaxed new and former users to their doors. They will share talking points, tips, and an advocacy tool you can use to build a case to eliminate fines in your library.”
  • Recorded – “Fine-Free Future” (RIPL)
    • “This webinar brings together three experienced library directors who have recently eliminated some or all overdue fines at their libraries to discuss the strategies they used in their communities, the arguments for and against the elimination of fines, their plans to measure impact and success, and how they communicate the issue of overdue fines as critical to any library’s mission of equal access and social equity.”
  • Recorded – “Planning and Implementing a Fine-Free Policy” (Florida Library Webinars)
    • “Libraries are ready for a change! Our academic library went fine free in 2016, and we’re not alone. In this informative and interactive program, we will share why and how we managed to eliminate most overdue fines, aligning our circulation policies with the needs of our most frequent users…Policies and methods from public libraries will also be included!”

For webinars and CE: If you would like to earn continuing education (CE) credit and are enrolled in the Nebraska Public Librarian Certification program, please submit a “CE Activity Report Form” after each webinar.

If you have any questions about continuing education, please contact Holli Duggan.

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