Albany Public Library is fine free — with no late fines on books and media — as of Jan. 1, 2019.
Here’s what that means for our patrons.
What is fine free? We eliminated late fines for books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs. We also waived old overdue fines for these materials.
Are there any restrictions on borrowing if items are overdue? Yes. If high-demand items (including new books, new audiobooks, and new DVDs) are more than three days late, you will be unable to borrow more materials until they are returned.
What about other library materials? APL still charges late fines for “things,” including: museum passes, musical instruments, electronic devices, fishing poles, Playaway View units, reference materials, and any other “things” from other libraries.
Does fine free impact interlibrary loan? No. Interlibrary loan (ILL) materials will still incur late fines.
What about other fines and fees? APL still charges fees for lost, non-returned, and damaged items.
What cardholders are impacted by the APL fine free policy? Items checked out from Albany’s seven branches are fine free for all Upper Hudson Library System cardholders, regardless of which library owns the item or where it is returned. (UHLS includes public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties.)
Why is APL now fine free? The library’s leaders chose to go fine free to decrease barriers to the collection and encourage people to come back to the library. There’s a mistaken impression that having late fines means that patrons can’t use any of our services or attend our programs. An inability to pay late fines causes some patrons to stop coming to the library. By eliminating late fines, we hope to make it easier for all people to visit the library, borrow materials, and access our services.
Will this hurt the library financially? No. Fines account for less than 1% of the library’s operating budget, and have been steadily decreasing. Late fines are unnecessary to the library’s viability. We have other sources of revenue to support what the library provides to the community. Patrons who would like to contribute their “late fines” to the library are encouraged to donate to the Albany Public Library Foundation.