About Fine Free

The library is now fine free. That’s right! We no longer charge fines on late items. This ensures that all people have access to library books and materials, which is our primary purpose as a public library. Here you’ll find information about this new policy and how it affects you. 


Background

  • For years, Saint Paul Public Library staff members have sought to eliminate late fines in order to make the Library more accessible to everyone.
  • Various steps were taken throughout the years, including eliminating late fines on children’s and young adult materials; “Read Downs” (reading off one’s fines on site); and not charging late fines on Library Go cards given to all Saint Paul Public School students.
  • Still, at last count, more than 50,000 people were unable to check out materials due to late fines. Percentages of people with blocked cards were higher in economically challenged areas, pointing to a huge disparity in Saint Paul.
  • In 2018, library staff members led more than six months of research into late fines. We read articles. We interviewed colleagues from other library systems and own staff members. We talked to community members, and we worked with the City’s Office of Financial Services to develop financial models that could support the elimination of late fines.
  • Based on this comprehensive research, the library and Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III submitted a proposal to the Saint Paul City Council to eliminate late fines.
  • The proposal was passed by City Council on December 12, 2018, and made effective beginning January 2, 2019.

Reminder Schedules

Most Items

3 DAYS BEFORE ITEMS ARE DUE Courtesy notice
1 DAY LATE First overdue notice
7 DAYS LATE Second overdue notice
14 DAYS LATE Third overdue notice
21 DAYS LATE Fourth overdue notice
35 DAYS LATE Billed (your card will be blocked for use if charges are over $10)
63 DAYS LATE Collections notice for bills exceeding $30 (This information is NOT reported to credit bureaus)

Other items (Lucky Day, Hotspots, Book Club in a Bag, Interlibrary Loan)

1–3 DAYS BEFORE ITEMS ARE DUE (depends on item type) Courtesy notice
1 DAY LATE First overdue notice
7 DAYS LATE Second overdue notice
14 DAYS LATE Billed (your card will be blocked for use if charges are over $10)
42 DAYS LATE Collections notice for items for bills exceeding $30 (This information is NOT reported to credit bureaus

 


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