As of July 1st, 2021, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is fine-free.
This means that cardholders will no longer be charged fines for overdue books. In addition, all cardholders will see all fines and fees removed from their accounts, and will return to a $0.00 balance.
The library made this change because 150,000 cardholders were suspended from using Library resources because of fines. This change will make the library once again accessible to everyone.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is joining many libraries around the state and country in eliminating fines.
What many libraries have found is that late fees weren’t serving their purpose. The idea was to encourage patrons to return items, but, instead, they were keeping people from returning items and using the library again, because they couldn’t afford to pay.
Many libraries have found that soon after they adopted a fine-free model, long-lost materials were returned to the library, and, more importantly, long-lost users became active library patrons again.
Not only that, but fines are not always even cost effective. For example, in San Diego, the library system was spending nearly $1 million each year to collect $675,000 in library fees.
In North Carolina, Wake County Public Library, Durham County Library, Greensboro Public Library, and Chapel Hill Public Library have all gone fine free.
More Information about the New Policy
Punitive fines have been eliminated, but fees haven’t. There will still be fees for InterLibrary Loan materials, non-resident Library cards, photocopies, printing, meeting room rentals and lost items. The library will also continue to charge a replacement fee for severely damaged items.
You still need to return your overdue material. If you lose an item, there could be a fee for lost materials. But there’s no charge or returning it late.
An item is declared lost if it’s overdue for 30 days. At that time a replacement charge is placed on the cardholder’s account. However, the replacement charges will be waived when the item is returned, and if the cardholder has already paid the replacement charge, it will be refunded.