Fine Free FAQ


Great news! Starting August 9, we no longer charge fines on overdue items checked out at our Library. Here are some questions we think you might have for us.

What does it mean to be fine free?

EPL no longer charges fines for overdue items checked out at our Library. This change is for all patrons, including those who visit us from other libraries.

What if I have overdue fines on my account?

All existing overdue fines have been removed from our system. We will no longer charge fines for any materials checked out from Elmhurst Public Library.

What are some of the benefits of going fine free?

It removes barriers to accessing the Library and helps provide an equitable experience for all people in our community. Additionally, going fine free allows our staff to focus on more positive interactions with our visitors and provide the exemplary customer service our community has come to expect of us. We want to encourage people to come to the Library and have it be an enjoyable destination. Accumulating fines works against that goal. We hope to welcome back anyone who felt discouraged about using the Library due to a fine on their account.

Do items still have due dates?

Yes, each item still has a due date and people are still responsible for honoring the due date. When items are returned on time, it helps your fellow community members borrow items sooner. If you’d like help remembering to return items on time, we can send you reminders by email and text alerts. You can set up email reminders in your library account.

How will overdue items be treated now?

After a library item is two weeks overdue, your account is blocked until the item is returned. The account block includes checking out physical items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.), placing holds, and renewing items.

If an item is more than 42 days past due (6 weeks), you will need to either return the item or pay the replacement cost to unlock your account.

How will the library recoup the funds received from late fees?

Fines account for a tiny percentage of our operating budget. This number has consistently decreased over time, especially after we implemented our popular auto-renewal policy in 2020.

Will I have to wait longer for popular items to be returned?

Libraries that have gone fine free have not seen any difference in when items are returned. Most items are returned within a week of their due date.

What is the Library’s new policy on overdue materials?

Each item still has a due date and borrowers are responsible for honoring the due date. If an item is more than 14 days overdue, borrowers are restricted and may not check out any additional items, ​place holds, or renew items. Once the item is returned, the restriction is removed from the borrower’s account.

Borrowers are blocked and not be able to check out any additional items if the account:

  • has accumulated fees and charges in excess of $20
  • has items over 14 days overdue
  • has lost items on the account

Items not returned after 42 days overdue will be billed for the cost of replacement. If the item is not paid for or returned, the associated account may be turned over to a collection agency and additional charges are assessed.


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