Fines free FAQs

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Fines free FAQs

From 1 July 2022 we are Fines Free. This means there are no overdue fines on items that are returned late (unless they become lost). All existing overdue fines and charges for damaged and lost books (prior to 1 June 2022) were wiped to give everyone a clean slate.

  • Fines free means we no longer charge overdue fines for books returned late.

    If books aren't returned you will receive two overdue notices, before the overdue items become lost and replacement fees added to your card.

  • No, there is still a rental fee for borrowing new release books, DVDs and magazines.

  • In the past overdue fines were introduced to encourage library members to return books. It has become something that has embarrassed members and stopped some from visiting the library.

    The fines model is out of step with our goal of increasing use, trust, connection and wellbeing.

    International evidence has proven that going fines free increases membership and allows greater participation in accessing resources, especially for those in lower socio-economic groups who need us most.

  • In order to start the new financial year with a clean slate we did a once only debt write off - including lost and damaged books. Fines for books that were lost on or before 1 June 2022 were written off. If you have lost a book on or after 1 June you will be charged the replacement cost and a processing fee.

  • Libraries around the world have reported that removing fines has actually lead to increased return rates, borrowing and membership. So we're not anticipating an increase in late returns - non-returned books automatically become lost so this will remain an incentive for returning books on time.

    Graph showing number of overdue books - 1.7% of the total collection

    This graph shows the number of overdue books - just 1.7% of the total collection (as at 7 June 2022)

    This graph shows that only a small number of items are overdue - around 1,100 titles out of almost 64,000 items that can be borrowed. Going Fines Free is a high trust model in which we trust people to return the items they borrow.