Data About Library Fines

Recently, we sent a short and sweet survey to public libraries asking if fines are collected for overdue items. We received 189 responses to the survey. The results of the basic question are reflected in the chart on the right-hand side. 31% charge fines for everything that is overdue, 11% charge fines for some items or borrower age groups, and 48% don’t charge any fines. The “other” category is a bit more complicated, as these libraries reported things like temporary suspension of fines (e.g. during COVID), or amnesty days (e.g. Fine Free Fridays), or fine for the problem patron who is chronically late.

Likely, we will continue to collect these data. Eventually, fines data for individual libraries will be available on our website, as libraries may want to compare to their neighbors or peers. If you didn’t submit a survey, please contact me and I will get your data added.

If you are reviewing your fine policy, here are some links that might be helpful:

NLA Third Thursday Chat: “Going Fine Free: How we did it (and how you can too!) Recording

North Dakota State Library: Fine Free Resources

Delaware Division of Libraries: Fines & Fees

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