Norfolk Public Library Adopts a Fine-Free Policy

By: City of Norfolk

NORFOLK, VA – Norfolk Public Library (NPL) is adopting a fast-growing trend among libraries nationwide. After a one-year trial period, NPL received approval to extend fine-free services indefinitely for patrons.

Previously, NPL charged 20 cents per day, per item, up to a $6.00 maximum for books and materials. All DVDs, reference books, interlibrary loan materials, book club kits, and Toddle Totes were charged $1.25 per day, up to a $10.00 maximum. Once items were kept 28 days beyond the due date, they were assumed lost, and the patron’s account was charged the replacement cost and processing fee. Accounts delinquent 30 or more days were referred to the Norfolk Department of Finance, and a $25 non-negotiable fee was added, even if items were returned.  

NPL has worked with the Finance Department to charge off and remove all fines and fees incurred before 2010 from patron records. All fines and fees incurred on juvenile accounts before January 1, 2021, were removed as well. Fees for lost or damaged books and materials will continue, and the remainder of the Circulation Policies remain in effect.  

To date, more than 200 libraries in America have successfully eliminated overdue fines. To see who else has adopted this policy, view the interactive map of fine-free libraries.