Does CCPL charge overdue fines?

Answer

The short answer is, no. Effective January 26, 2022, Cuyahoga County Public Library no longer charges daily fines on most overdue materials. The only exceptions to our fine free policy are our bookable kits and materials checked out through OhioLINK and SearchOhio, as they are items that do not belong to CCPL. Because we don't own items borrowed from OhioLINK and SearchOhio, we do not have the authority to waive fines and fees associated with those materials. 

Why change the policy? Doesn’t the Library rely on fines for its funding? We eliminated daily overdue fines because they are a barrier for many residents who simply cannot afford to pay if they are a few days late returning an item. Fines are a penalty, not a library reimbursement, that residents are charged even when they return an overdue item. When fines accrue over time, they represent a financial barrier that disproportionately affects low-income families and children. Fines historically represent less than 1% of the Library’s annual revenue. The value of eliminating fines and opening access far exceeds the cost.

Without a fine, what’s the incentive to return material? Having a fine on your library account is not a moral failing – it’s more often an indication that we all lead busy lives, and sometimes we miss a library due date! Under our fine free policy, any library items that are not returned more than 21 days after their due date will be considered “lost.” When an item is lost, borrowers are charged a replacement fee. When a lost item is returned, the replacement fee is cleared – that’s a strong incentive to bring items back to the Library.

What if I don't return an item? Borrowers with items more than 21 days past their due date will be charged a fee to replace those items. If a borrower owes between $25 and $99, they will be limited to use of electronic resources such as OverDrive, databases and public computer access. Accounts with more than $100 will be blocked.

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  • Last Updated Feb 24, 2024
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