Your library is now fine free

Sewickley Public Library Will No Longer Charge Late Fees

Sometimes the best gifts don’t cost a penny, and that’s the case this year for the Sewickley Public Library! We want to make sure everyone has access to library books, movies, and resources – regardless of circumstances. So we’re removing the barriers that keep folks away from the library!

Starting December 1, 2022, the Sewickley Public Library will no longer charge late/overdue fees on any of items we lend.  Books, movies, audiobooks, music—there will be no fees if you return them late.

Any items checked out at the Sewickley Public Library will not have overdue fines, even if you return them to another library.

And any materials returned to SPL will not have overdue fines, even if you checked them out from another library.

Already have an existing overdue fine on your account? Not anymore! We’re waiving all overdue fines for users who live in the Quaker Valley School District starting Dec 1 to give all of our users a fresh-start.

Does this mean you can keep items forever? No. Fine-free does not mean consequence-free. If you lose/damage/never return materials, the library will still charge replacement fees for those items.

What this does mean for many of our library users is that we are removing barriers. We understand that our users are busy. Life can get in the way and sometimes returning library books on-time isn’t a top priority. We want to make sure library users can continue accessing the library’s valuable resources without fear of racking up a debt in fines if they are a few days late. (Here’s looking at you Children’s Picture Books!)

But doesn’t the library need the money for it’s budget? Less than .05% of the library’s budget comes from overdue fines. The mission of Sewickley Public Library is to “serve as a center for lifelong learning by providing free access to informational, educational, cultural and recreational library resources…” We believe this action will better help us serve our mission by eliminating barriers to access for users that need our services the most. We continually explore additional ways to supplement the library operating budget.

Will people still return their materials in a timely manner? Evidence shows yes! At least 29 libraries in Allegheny County are already fine-free. Launched as a pilot in 2019, the fine-free initiative has shown increased circulation and patron registrations, with no significant change in the rate of items that are overdue. Too often, patrons that accrue high overdue fines never return to the library and never return the items. By going fine-free, the Sewickley Public Library aims to get both our patrons and materials back in the library.

For more information about SPL’s Fine Free program, visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

A Sweet Gift for the Holidays – We’re Going Fine-Free!
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