Fine Free

The Saxton B. Little Free Library of Columbia has gone “Fine-Free!”


Saxton B. Little Free Library Fine-Free FAQs

Why eliminate overdue fines?

Research shows that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library materials. Instead, fines, and the threat of fines, actually become a barrier to using the library. Our hope is that by going fine-free we will encourage prior users to come back to the library and attract new users to experience everything our library has to offer, without hesitation.

Our community is stronger when all people have equitable 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.

Don’t overdue fines encourage people to return items on time?
There is no evidence that shows this to be true. Hundreds of libraries in Connecticut and across the US have eliminated overdue fines and seen either minimal change or even a noticeable increase in the number of items returned.

Will everything be fine-free?

Most library items will be “fine-free”. There will be no overdue fines for books, DVDs, or magazines. Overdue fines will still apply to time-sensitive materials and those with limited supply (museum passes and technology equipment, Saxton Stuff.)

What if I have old overdue fines on my account?

Existing overdue fines on SBL items were wiped clean in November 2023. You are still expected to return all overdue items that are on your card, or pay the replacement cost for the item(s).

What if I have fines from another library?

You are still responsible for paying overdue fines to other libraries that charge them. All items borrowed from other libraries are subject to the policies of the lending library. If you check out or renew items while visiting another library, you could still be charged fines based on that library’s fine policy.

Won’t people just check things out and never return them?

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” If your item is not returned after 60 days, the item will be assumed lost and you will be charged the full replacement cost of the item. Your library card privileges will be suspended if you have any fines totaling $15 or more.

Will there still be due dates?

Yes. Every item checked out will still have a due date. Please remember that someone else may be waiting for an item, so we do need everyone to bring their items back on time.

What about times I’ve place on hold? Will I have to wait forever for my item?

Due date procedures will not change. If a book is very popular, we often buy additional copies to fulfill holds. And items with holds cannot be renewed.

I have an item that I’m being charged for as “lost.” Can I still bring it back?

As long as you haven’t already paid for its replacement, and we haven’t already purchased a replacement, please do. If you’ve paid for a formerly lost book, you may keep it.

Won’t this affect the library’s budget?

Fine revenue accounts for a negligible portion of the library’s total revenue. The end of fine collection will not affect the library’s ability to deliver outstanding programs, collections, and services.

I like to give a little donation to the library if I return my items late. May I still do that?

Absolutely. We very much appreciate the support of people who are able to give. Donations can be made at the circulation desk or by visiting the Donations page on our website.

Have other libraries eliminated overdue fines?

Yes. Almost 80% of Connecticut’s public libraries have gone fine-free! To see how many libraries world-wide have adopted fine-free policies, visit the End Library Fines website.

Will I still have to pay for printing and photocopying?
Yes. While overdue fines are punitive, fees for printing, faxing, and photocopying help us to recoup the cost of providing those services and associated materials such as printers, copiers, paper, and toner.


For more information, please contact the library.