What’s this I hear about the library going fine-free?

Why will the library no longer collect overdue fines?
Our goal is to make sure you can enjoy all the books and services the library has to
offer. Overdue fines can prevent some patrons from checking out books and other
materials from the library. The library wants to unblock accounts and encourage you to
bring items back.

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?
Fines are a penalty for returning materials late. Fees are for library services and
products, such as replacement library cards, copying, printing, replacement costs,
inter-library loan, etc.

How does the new Fine-Free policy work?
You are still responsible for returning items on time as a courtesy to other patrons.
Overdue fines will not be reflected on the patron’s account for late items.
Library cardholders may check out items for up to 21 days (3 weeks) and have the
opportunity to renew each item up to two times. Certain items are not eligible for
renewal, including some items borrowed through Inter-Library Loan and items with
outstanding holds requests.
In order to help patrons return materials on time the library will send notices to patrons
regarding checked-out materials including upcoming due dates, overdue notifications,
and bills for never-returned items.
After 35 days overdue, the privilege of borrowing further physical materials (books,
DVDs, audiobooks, playaways) will be suspended. In addition, overdue item(s) will be
considered lost and the patron will be billed the replacement cost.
If the item(s) are returned undamaged, all related fees shall be removed from the
account and borrowing privileges will be reinstated. If the item is not returned or is
returned damaged the patron will be responsible for the monetary cost for the item.
Charges for never-returned or damaged items will be calculated at list price.

Will the library lose money or materials due to the new Fine-Free policy?
Overdue fines currently make up less than 3.4% of the library’s operating budget. The
reduction in money collected in fines will be offset with donations.

When does the new Fine-Free policy go into effect?
The Fine-Free policy will go into effect July 1, 2019. Fines on all current accounts will be
forgiven. You will still be responsible for charges for never-returned items or damaged
Should it become necessary staff may place limits on the number of items that can be
checked out per patron.

This policy does not apply to fees for library services and products such as replacement
library cards, copying, printing, or replacement costs for lost or damaged materials.

How many items may I borrow and for how long?

You may borrow unlimited physical items at a time for a 3 week period. If you need more time, you can renew the item(s) twice as long as no one else is waiting for them. If you have late fees totaling more than $10.00 you will need to pay your late fees in order to renew or place a hold. Your library card also gives you access to streaming and downloadable items, which you can access from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Where and when should I return my items?

Items may be returned to the Main Library or the Park Branch Library in Carmel-by-the-Sea and will be checked in from your account on the day received. Outside book drops are located behind the Harrison Library at the corner of Sixth and Lincoln, and in the Park Branch side parking lot. Items returned to book drops will be checked in the day received. Items returned to outdoor book drops after the Library is closed will be back-dated to the previous day’s date as long as they are in the first collection of materials prior to 8 am. Items returned to any other peninsula library may be delayed in delivery and will be checked in the day received.

What are the late fees?

If an item is overdue, a late fee of 50 cents per day, per item will apply. 

The maximum overdue charge is $5 per item. Borrowing privileges are suspended when a borrower has overdue charges totaling more than $10 or library materials that have not been returned.

You can continue to check out items if you owe $10.00 or less. There are no late fees for streaming and downloadable materials.

What if an item is lost or damaged?

If an item is not returned or is returned in damaged condition, the borrower will be charged a replacement charge plus a processing fee to cover re-cataloging, processing, labels, barcodes, etc. The Library does not accept replacement items. 

Renewing Materials and Placing Holds

You can renew your materials twice, except for items with holds.

You can renew books or place a hold through our catalog with your library card number and your PIN, or by phone at (831) 624-4629. If you have late fees totaling more than $10.00 you need to pay your late fees in order to renew or place a hold.

Library Fees

  • Overdue items – $.50/day
  • Library card replacement – $3
  • Visitor card for out of state visitors – $10/month
  • Interlibrary loan  – $5 per item
  • Printing  – $.20/page for black and white, $.50/page for color
  • Copying  – $.20/page
  • Lost/damaged processing fee for books, audiobooks, DVDs – cost of item, plus $15
  • Lost/damaged processing fee for magazines – $5