No More Fines

As of July 20, 2020, all existing overdue fines have been cleared from library cardholder accounts and will no longer be charged at Manhattan Public Library. Any charges related to lost or damaged items will remain on library accounts.

Life happens and we understand that sometimes it can be difficult to return items to the library on time. Manhattan Public Library is joining the growing number of public libraries that are going fine-free. The American Library Association recognizes that overdue fines create barriers to service and discourage use. Fine-free libraries report increased visits and circulation of items, as well as an increase in the return of long-overdue items.


Why is the library eliminating overdue fines?

To eliminate punitive charges and reduce barriers to using the library’s collections.

Do I still owe past fines?

All overdue fines have been eliminated from accounts, and no future late fees will be charged. Charges related to lost or damaged items will remain on your account.

Why do I have charges on my account?

Borrowers are still responsible for the replacement of damaged or lost items. To avoid items being declared lost, please renew or return them on or before the due date.

How will this affect the library’s budget?

Going fine-free will not significantly impact the budget moving forward. The growth of the library’s 24/7 digital branch continues to increase each year, and the amount of money collected from overdue fines is decreasing. In addition, the cost of collecting fines has increased with credit card processing and equipment fees.

No more fines: Does that mean I can keep items indefinitely?

No. There are due dates on all items. Return items on time, as there may be others waiting for them. If you need to keep an item longer than the loan period, please renew it.

How do I renew my items?

As long as no other patrons have requested them, you can renew books from your account online, by calling the library, or by bringing the items back in to the library.

How will I know when I have to return my items?

You can ask for a due date slip when you check out items. You can also check your account at the library’s catalog to see a list of what you have checked out and when items are due.

What if I forget to return my items on time?

Don’t worry: you can choose to have the library send a reminder text message or email before the items are due. We will send you helpful overdue notices at regular intervals.

What happens if I ignore those overdue notices?

When you have kept the items you have checked out 45 days past their due date, we will send you a bill for the replacement cost of them and add this charge along with a processing fee to your account.