Fine Free

The Pella Public Library is exceptionally pleased to announce that we are going "fine-free" for overdue materials beginning January 1, 2021.

What does this mean?

Beginning January 1, 2021, users will no longer be charged new fines for overdue materials. This includes the $0.10 per day fine on most materials and the $1.00 per day fine on DVD movies.

I have outstanding overdue fines on my account.  Will those be forgiven after January 1, 2021?

No.  Existing bills on your account, including overdue fines previously incurred, are considered money owed to the library and will remain in effect.

What about other bills and fees?

Other fees not related to fines will remain in effect.  This includes bills for items that are lost or damaged, the $2.00 replacement card fee, and copying and printing charges. 

What if I have an item checked out during the "switch over" on January 1, 2021?

Fines will not be assessed on any item returned after January 1, 2021.

I have a long-overdue item.  Can I return it after January 1, 2021 and receive amnesty?

You will not be charged overdue fines on items returned after January 1, 2021. You may be required to pay a $3.00 processing fee, depending on whether the item was so overdue that the total cost of the item was billed to your account.

How will you get materials back with no overdue fines?

Beginning January 1, 2021, the system will temporarily pause your library account if you have overdue materials.  This means that you must return or renew all overdue items on your account before checking out new materials or using other services, such as Bridges, Hoopla, Kanopy, etc.

Aren't you losing a lot of money?

Overdue fine revenue has decreased significantly in the past few years. The decision was made that since overdue fines are not a large source of revenue, it was no longer necessary to continue charging them. Additionally, it has been shown (see study below) that the punitive aspect of fines does not increase return rates significantly when compared to fine-free return rates, and that fine-free returns actually encourage more library use.

What if the books never come back?

Here is a link to a study (.pdf) which shows that in the majority of cases, fine-free books and other items are returned to the library at the same rate as those with fines.

Are there "gotchas" or important things to remember?

The most important thing to remember is that If you have an item which is overdue, your account will be paused. You must renew or return all overdue items before you can check out any new materials. Library staff are unable to renew materials that are on hold for another patron. If an overdue item is on hold, you must return it before checking out new materials.  Additionally, library staff are unable to renew materials more than twice. If you would like to continue using an item past the two renewal limit, bring it into the library along with your library card. Staff will check in the item and then check it out to you again if it is not on hold for another patron.

What if I feel bad about an overdue item?

Though we will no longer collect overdue fines, you are welcome to make a donation in any amount at the front desk. We appreciate your support of the library.