Fine-Free Policy

Fairfield Public Library has adopted a fine-free policy effective January 1, 2023. Removing previously accrued fines for late materials and eliminating future late fees removes a barrier to access for many in our community that cannot afford these fines. Within our updated policy, borrowers will still be expected to pay for lost and damaged materials. Long overdue items will be marked “Lost” 28 days after their due date. Accounts will be blocked that have outstanding replacement fees of $10 or more for lost materials. In 2023, we look forward to seeing many FPL card holder return and to meeting many new borrowers for the first time! Our fine-free policy is made possible thanks to the support of the Fairfield Public Library Board of Trustees and The City of Fairfield City Council.

Why eliminate fines? Fines were previously thought to incentivize the return of materials in a timely manner. However, over the past four decades, research has disproven this belief. Borrowers at libraries without fines will return materials at an almost identical rate as those borrowing materials at libraries with fines. Fairfield Public Library now joins a growing number of public libraries adopting a fine-free policy, including nearly 350 libraries in the state of Iowa, to ensure that everyone can utilize our services regardless of their financial circumstances.

What does this mean for you? It means that you will never have to worry about late fees again! Sometimes an illness keeps you from returning a book on time. Or perhaps car trouble has kept you from being able to visit us. Things happen and we believe no one should have to pay for this. If it’s been more than a year since your last visit, you will need to update your account in order to begin checking out materials again. For more about our Fine-Free Policy, see the "Borrowers Policy" and the "Loan & Fee Schedule" in Policies under the About tab.