Fine Free Frequently Asked Questions

YOUR library is now fine free! 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.

Why go fine free?

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

Late fines are not effective. Studies have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. According to “Removing Barriers to Access,” a Colorado State Library whitepaper:  “The scant research on the impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit to administering these policies.”

It’s good for our relationships. When you walk through our doors, we want to do our best to help you, not badger you about a late fee.  Going fine free makes a trip to the library more pleasant for both you and our staff.

What this means for you

  • You will no longer receive a daily late fine on overdue items.
  • You are still responsible for returning your items. We do want all items back!
  • The library will still send you courtesy reminders to return your items.
  • If you have overdue fines from other libraries in the Evergreen Indiana consortium, you are still responsible for paying these. If you check out or renew materials while visiting another library in the Evergreen Indiana consortium, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy (many still have fines, some do not).
  • Materials that are 28 days overdue are assumed lost and you will be billed for the replacement cost.
  • If 15 days after receiving a bill, you have not returned or paid for the item, you will be referred to a collection agency and charged a $10 collection agency processing fee. If you return the items after being referred to collections, the bill will be cleared from your account, but the collection agency processing fee will remain.
  • Past replacement fees for lost or damaged items still apply.
  • If you have overdue fines from MCPL that you accrued before we went fine free, you are no longer required to pay these fines. We have cleared many of the accounts, but if you still have a fine that appears on your account, please ask to speak to a supervisor at the Circulation Desk.

 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I still have to pay a fine that was on my account prior to MCPL going fine free?
    If you’ve returned all materials checked out from MCPL, your fine has been waived. Fines from other Evergreen libraries may still be present and must be paid.
  2. Is EVERYTHING free of overdue fines? Almost everything!  Books, movies, audiobooks, magazines, and downloadables are all fine free.  Equipment, like wi-fi hotspots and tablets, are the exception and still have overdue fines.
  3. Fines have been waived, so why does my account still have a balance?
    While MCPL is doing away with overdue fines, fees for lost or damaged materials remain. Fines from other Evergreen libraries may still be present, also.
  4. How will the Library get people to return borrowed materials?
    “No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” Materials that are 28 days overdue are assumed lost and you will be billed for the replacement cost.
  5. Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?
Reminder Email and/or text 3 days before item is due
Overdue Email and/or text On due date
Overdue By Mail 14 days overdue
Bill By Mail 28 days overdue
Patron billed for replacement cost
Collection Notice By Mail 43 days overdue
Patron account is referred to collection agency
  1. How is the Library budget affected by the loss of fine income?
    Overdue fines make up less than one percent of the Library’s annual income.
  2. I’ve always thought of paying my fines as my donation to the library. Can I still donate?
    Yes! Your donation will support critical Library programs and services.
  3. What is the difference between a fine and a fee?
    Fines are punitive. Fees are for library services and products such as library cards, copying, printing, material replacement costs, etc.