My Account

No Late Fines

In 2021, The Indianapolis Public Library officially eliminated late fines! Additionally, we waived unpaid late fines for over 87,000 Library accounts. (Go ahead - log in and check your account!) Tell us how this decision impacts you and your family, and read further below for details about this decision.

No Late Fines

More about "Fine Free"

Ultimately, there should be no change to your borrowing habits. Library materials will still need to either be returned or renewed within 21 days of checkout. But if you are a little late, you just won’t get charged each day for being overdue. If an item is overdue for too long, The Library will consider it “lost,” and you, the borrower, will be charged a replacement fee. Patrons with large unpaid balances for “lost item” and other fees may have borrowing privileges suspended and could be referred to a debt collection agency.

Late Fine Free

Why waive late fines?

The IndyPL Board of Trustees approved the discontinuation of charging late fines in April 2020 to ensure that The Library would not add any financial hardship for patrons. There are several reasons that The Indianapolis Public Library joined hundreds of other libraries across the country and made the policy permanent:

  • Studies from other libraries show that per day late fines are ineffective for getting patrons to return items on time. (Suspending borrowing privileges is more effective, without the financial impact.)
  • Staff time can be better applied to other tasks, rather than dealing with late fine issues.
  • Fines disproportionately affect patrons in lower-income areas, likely deterring patrons who need the Library from utilizing resources.
  • Because so many balances go unpaid, the financial impact is manageable.

Frequently Asked Questions

I still have a balance on my account - why?

We only waived historical per day late fines. Other fees and charges, such as for lost items, printing, and other purchases may still be on patron accounts.

Will this make my hold times longer?

We don’t anticipate that this will negatively affect wait times for holds. Books are still due and need to be returned on time to avoid suspension of borrowing privileges.

What if I return an item after it was designated as “lost”?

If a patron eventually returns “lost” items, their account may still reflect a $10 collections fee because of the expense IndyPL incurs for the collection service to recover the value of the item(s). This fee would exist as a balance on the patron’s account even after returning the item(s).

Why not also waive lost item fees?

The Library’s collection - the books, movies, and other materials - is at the core of our services, and is a substantial investment of taxpayer funds. In order to be good stewards of these funds, it is important that we enforce compensation for lost, damaged, or stolen items.

Where can I see the rules about checking out Library materials?

Rules are on our Circulation Policies webpage.