Fines Free

kids using a computer

We are going Fine Free!

Over the past several years, many public library systems throughout North America have begun to examine the true value of levying fines for overdue materials. In recent years many systems, large and small, have embraced offering fine-free services to their patrons. 

Overdue fines were meant to deter people from returning materials late. However, studies show that fines may actually increase the likelihood that library material does not get brought back at all.

We want everyone to be able to access our library without having to worry about financial repercussions for bringing back materials a few days late. Overdue fines create a barrier for those who are most in need of our services, especially now when so many people have been affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With all of this in mind, the North Kawartha Public Library Board decided that eliminating fines would be a way to provide greater access to all of our amazing services and resources as well as welcome back members we may have lost over the years.

Fine free policies will take effect January 1st, 2021.


Frequently Asked Questions

 What does going fine-free mean for me?
Overdue fines will no longer be applied to your account. But you are still responsible for returning everything you borrow. Please do your best to return them on time, someone else may be waiting for them. If you do keep items past their due date, they will be marked as lost on your account after 90 days and replacement fees will apply. You won’t be able to borrow anything if that happens, or use the Digital Library. We’ll waive the replacement fee if you return the items.

Sign up for e-notifications to stay in the loop! You’ll receive reminders notifying you when your items are almost due as well as when you have holds ready. Provide us with your email address if we do not already have it, by emailing

 Will outstanding fines be waived?
Yes! Effective January 1st 2021, the Library will clear all outstanding overdue fines from all patron records.
 How will this initiative change the experience at the library?
This initiative will give patrons more freedom to explore our collection without the stress of facing possible overdue fines. To ensure borrowed items are still returned in a timely fashion, we have a limit of four overdue items before accounts get blocked. 
 How do I get my card unblocked?
As before, library accounts with four or more library items that are overdue will be blocked until the items are renewed or returned. To remove the block from your card, simply return your items. You will not be able to renew items online through your account if you have four or more items overdue so please contact the library if you would like to renew them.

**Please be aware that Covid-19 policies will impact returns. Material may stay on your account for over a week due to quarantine processes. If your account is blocked, and you have already returned material, call your local branch or email for assistance.

 I didn't really lose items that are still on my account, can I still bring them back?
Yes! Bringing back items will remove replacement costs from your account. Please talk to library staff regarding this fee so you can continue using your card and our services.
 What if I lose or damage an item?
A replacement fee will be added to your account for the lost or damaged item and the account holder will be responsible for the cost.
 What notifications will I get when materials are due?
For patrons who receive email notices, you will get a notice from the library 3 days prior to the due date as well as a 7 day overdue notice.

At 4 weeks overdue (28 days), a letter is sent by mail or email as a reminder of your overdue items. At 90 days overdue, the item is considered lost and you will be billed for the item.

If you return the overdue item after you receive the 90 day invoice, there will be no charge. If the item is lost or damaged, the replacement costs will still apply.

To activate notifications, provide us with your email address if we do not already have it, by emailing

 I thought of fines as a donation to the library. Can I still donate to the library?
 Yes! Donations to the Library will be gratefully be accepted. All donations will go towards supporting important library services for our community.
 Are other libraries fine free?
Yes! The trend is growing and more libraries around the world are expected to adopt a fine free model over the next few years.

Over the past several years, many large library systems in the US have eliminated overdue fines: San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and Phoenix to name a few. Within Ontario, about a dozen medium to large systems have gone fine-free in recent years: Brampton, Oakville, Hamilton, Halton Hills, Newmarket, and Niagara-On-The-Lake, Prince Edward County, Rideau Lakes, among others.

 Will there still be fines on Interlibrary Loan books?
Yes. Fines for ILLO materials will be set by the lending library. 
 How will the Library encourage people to return overdue items?
The Library encourages patrons to return books in a responsible and timely fashion so others may enjoy the shared resources. Per the Library’s existing procedures, if the overdue items are not returned after 90 days, a final notice (accompanied by an invoice for the replacement cost) will be sent. 

Patrons with four or more overdue or lost library items cannot borrow further items. 

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