Why get rid of late fines?
Late fines are not effective. Other Library systems have stopped charging late fines and shown that this has no impact on return rates. Getting rid of late fines can even increase use of Library materials.
It’s good for our community. Late fines prevent people who cannot afford them from using the Library in the first place.
Fines are not predictable revenue. With more people using digital materials like e-books, we can no longer count on late fines to help cover costs.
What it means for you:
- You will no longer be charged a daily fine for overdue items. As always, digital materials are checked in automatically with no late fines.
- We will clear any late fines you currently owe from your account. You may still owe other Library fees, including lost item charges.
- You can still renew your items two times unless there is a hold on it or it is a Most Wanted book.
- You are still responsible for returning your items on time. We do want all items back, and other people may be waiting. We will suspend your Library account if items are not returned 30 days after their due dates. When your account is suspended you cannot check out physical materials like books or DVDs or access some of our digital services until your overdue items are returned.
- We consider items overdue by one month or more to be lost, and will bill you for the replacement cost.
- Once you return an overdue item or pay for its replacement cost, your account will be reinstated and no fines will be charged
- To help you remember to return items on time, we send reminders by email, text and phone. With Shoutbomb, receive text notifications about due dates, holds, and overdue items and renew items via text.To sign up, text "signup" to (406) 215-4240. (Standard text messaging rates apply.)
What happens if I don’t return Library materials?
We still want Library items back! If you keep an item 30 days past its due date, we will temporarily suspend your Library account. That means you won’t be able to check out more items or use some of our digital media services until your late materials are returned.
If an item is not returned one month after the due date, we will charge you for the cost to replace it. If an item is not returned 45 days after the due date, we will charge you a non-refundable $10 fee and refer your account to an outside agency for collection.
What should I do if I want to keep something past its due date?
You can renew items up to two times if no one else is waiting. Please renew items you want to keep past their due date to avoid temporary account suspension and lost item fees. Log in to your account to renew items online. Items can’t be renewed if other people are waiting. Please return items that you can’t renew and place a new hold to check them out again.
What happens to late fines I owed before 2020?
We are clearing all late fines owed as of Jan. 1, 2020. We hope you will come use the Library again if you owed late fines in the past! You may still owe other Library fees, which include charges for lost or damaged items.
What should I do with very overdue Library materials I still have?
Please bring it back! Even if an item has been sitting on your shelf for years, return it and you can use the Library again with no late fines. If you have already paid for a lost item and you bring it back within a year of payment, we will clear the charge.
What can you do to help me keep track of due dates?
We send account notifications by email, text and/ or phone. If we have your email address, we will email you a reminder before items are due. You can choose to get by text as well. To sign up, text "signup" to (406) 215-4240. (Standard text messaging rates apply.)
I like paying my fines — I think of it as my donation to the Library. Can I still donate?
Yes! You can still make donations to The Bozeman Public Library Foundation or the Friends of the Bozeman Public Library. Your donation will support critical Library programs and services, like the Most Wanted collection and SymBozium, a series of public forums tackling tough topics.
How does this affect use with other libraries in Gallatin County?
If you use a Bozeman Library card at other libraries in the county, you may be charged for overdue items. It will depend on their circulation policy. If a card holder from another library in Gallatin County gets used at the Bozeman Library, their account will not be charged for overdue materials.
What is the timeline for the change?
We no longer charge late fines as of Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. On that date, we will also clear any late fines you currently owe from your account. You may still owe other Library fees, including lost-item charges.