Fine Free

Everyone deserves a fresh start.

No judgment, no bringing up the past, no barriers. That’s what going fine free means at Elkhart Public Library.

>>> Meet our employee who’s the real reason we’re fine free <<<

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, everyone goes back to zero. No outstanding debts, no existing fines. It’s truly a clean slate. (Need a card? Get one by signing up!)

Everyone deserves to have access to library items without a single mistake keeping them away. We don’t care what it was, we won’t even ask. Starting 2/22/22, it’s all forgotten.

Now, before you check us out, we have some important things to note.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will you have no overdue fines going forward?

The only exception may be interlibrary loan. Because we’re actually borrowing books from other library systems, we have go with whatever rules they have.

So I don’t have to return items anymore?

No, we still need them back. While you no longer will be charged daily late fines, the material will be marked lost after 31 days and you would need to pay to replace the item before you can check out more. Once the item is returned, the fee will be waived from your account.

What charges will there be?

Lost, damaged or unreturned materials and WiFi hotspots will be subject to a replacement fee. When you bring it back, that fee will be removed from your account. We’re also keeping fees for unreturned WiFi hotspots. You can check out the whole list of fees, including copy and library card charges, by clicking here.

What if I owed something previous to the change?

Great news, you now owe us nothing! This is a true start-over … a new beginning. Previously, people owing more than $10 in overdue fines couldn’t check out materials. But those days are in the past.

The only exception is for WiFi hotspots. Any lost or unreturned hotspots will cost you borrowing privileges.

If you don’t have overdue fines, why are there still due dates?

It’s important to remember other people want the item you have. It’s all about borrowing and returning, after all. Getting items back on the shelf in a timely manner for the next person is still important.

But I thought late fines incentivized people to return items?

Studies show overdue fines don’t encourage the return of items and late fines have greater impact on people who depend on the library for items.

Anything else?

If you still have questions about this, or just would like to let us know how this policy has changed your family and how you use the library, send us a note here or call 574-522-5669.