Jefferson County Library is now Fine Free on most items!

Why go fine free?

It’s good for our community. Our community is stronger and healthier when people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. We hope this will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience our offerings.

It’s fiscally responsible. Due to the rise in electronic materials (which do not accrue late fines) and other factors, fines are not a sustainable form of revenue for the library. Money collected from fines and fees has gone down steadily for the past ten years.

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” Materials that are 14 days overdue are assumed lost and you will be billed for the replacement and processing costs. Libraries that have adopted fine-free policies have seen an increase in returned materials.

There will still be overdue fines for some items such as Wi-Fi Hotspots, telescopes, fishing poles, interlibrary loans from non-Missouri Evergreen libraries, etc.

Does this policy change mean I can keep my library materials forever?

No, each item will still have a due date, and you are still responsible for honoring the due date or renewing the item. When you return items on time, it helps your neighbors borrow items sooner. To help you return items on time, we will send you a courtesy reminder email or text 3 days before your due date.

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Fines were what was owed when items were returned late. Fees are for library services and products such as library cards, copying, printing, material replacement costs, etc. and those will remain.

Do I still have to pay fines that were owed on my account prior to JCL going fine free?

If you’ve returned all materials checked out from JCL, your fines will be waived. We are working on getting the past fines removed from all accounts but it will take some time so please contact your local branch as needed.

Will I be refunded for fines paid prior to JCL going fine free?

There will be no refunds issued on fines paid prior to JCL going fine free on June 16, 2021.

What about lost or damaged items?

Patrons still have to pay to replace lost or damaged items. Materials that are 14 days overdue are automatically billed to the patron account and the patron will be notified. If those materials are returned in good condition, the fee will be removed from the account.

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

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

Why am I seeing a new charge on my account?

There are a number of reasons why you may be seeing new charges on your account. At JCL, there are still late fines for some items such as Wi-Fi Hotspots, telescopes, fishing poles, interlibrary loans from non-Missouri Evergreen libraries, etc. There are also fees for lost or damaged items. Items borrowed in person at other Missouri Evergreen libraries may also incur fees based on the policies of the loaning library.