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October 29, 2021

Overdue Fines Are Over at Hamilton East Public Library

Fine Free

With libraries in Fishers and Noblesville, the Hamilton East Public Library (HEPL) is pleased to announce that effective November 1, 2021 the library will no longer charge overdue fines on late library materials, including books, audiobooks, and DVDs.

Overdue fines are the daily charges that quickly add up when an item is kept past its due date. In 2019, fines and fees accounted for less than one percent of total operating revenue. “Eliminating fines will open access to our collections for more patrons, regardless of the ability to pay and free up staff time on fine-related issues to serve our community better,” says Collection Services Director Molly Mrozowski.

Across the nation, libraries are eliminating overdue fines to reduce barriers to borrowing, especially for those disproportionately impacted by fines. Children’s materials accounted for approximately one-third of all overdue fines at HEPL in 2019. In keeping with HEPL’s guiding principles of accessibility and equity, the absence of overdue fines will allow those disproportionately impacted by fines the opportunity to continue to borrow, read, learn and grow.

“We hope that eliminating fines for overdue items will remove another barrier to access and allow everyone in our service area to have full use of HEPL resources, especially those needed by school-age children to read, discover, and be curious. In addition, a fine-free policy keeps our mission to be the community’s essential connector to information and ideas,” says Library Director Edra Waterman.

The library’s Board of Trustees’ unanimous action to eliminate overdue fines paves the path for those who have avoided the library to return without the fear of late fines. “No fines” doesn’t mean no “responsibility.” Patrons are still expected to return their items, and the library will still bill for lost or damaged items. For more information about Hamilton East Public Library’s fines and fees, visit the website here.