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Goodbye Late Fines!

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FAQ – Elimination of Overdue Fines

We understand that fines are a significant barrier that prevents patrons from accessing much needed information. By removing that barrier, we hope that more people will enjoy our library, borrow our materials, and more easily access programs and services.

We would like to welcome the community back to OC Public Libraries. Outstanding overdue fines will be forgiven so that patrons can receive a fresh beginning. We invite patrons who stopped going to the library due to overdue fines to return and enjoy our library materials and services. We encourage anyone who has books or other materials that were billed as lost items to return them to the library.

The library expects that patrons will return their materials on time so that other patrons can use them. We will continue to send our patrons reminders. Patrons will receive a courtesy reminder 2 days before an item is due. If material is not returned, they will receive an overdue notice 1 day after the due date and again 4 days, 8 days, and 21 days after the due date. If the material is not returned 30 days after the due date, they will receive a bill for lost material. The patron will be blocked from checking out more materials until lost items have been addressed. If a patron returns an item that has been declared lost, all fines will be cancelled.

Patrons will be blocked at 21 days past due date and billed for the cost of the item at 30 days after.

Patrons who do not return their library items will be responsible for the replacement cost of the item.

Replacement costs vary by item.

We closely monitor our hold waitlist and order additional items to meet demand. We will continue to do this in order to minimize wait times for library patrons. Additionally, as with other items checked out, patrons will receive reminders that their items are due to be returned to the library.

OC Public Libraries auto-renews patrons’ items on the due date up to five times. If an item has a hold, the item cannot be renewed and is expected to be returned to the library.

Overdue fines represent a small portion of the library's budget and are not a steady or reliable source of revenue. We believe that the library's mission to provide free and equal access to materials and services is important and are choosing to make that a priority for our patrons. The library appreciates support from patrons who are able to make donations, but we will no longer be using punitive overdue fines as a way to generate revenue.

We recognize that receiving email notices about your library account is important to you. However, email often bounces or ends up in your spam folder, or there may be problems on our end where it fails to send or problems on your email provider’s end where it’s not received.

As a result, we recommend that you add 2 email addresses to your library record, download our app MyOCPL, and configure your spam folder:

  • Contact your local branch and make sure your email address is up-to-date in our records
  • Download our free app MyOCPL so you can: consolidate your family's library cards, renew items, and place holds.
  • Configure your spam filter to accept email from so our emails don't get filtered into your email provider's spam folders. Providers change their spam filters frequently, so sometimes our emails fall through the cracks.
  • There may be a few exceptions where individuals will not receive our email.  For example, if you are using a private or corporate email system that requires TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption, the emails will not go through.

Notices are provided as a courtesy; borrowers are responsible for returning materials on-time. You can use your online library account to monitor your due dates and holds or you can contact the Library during open hours for information about your account.

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