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Fine Free

Start a new chapter at Bettendorf Library!

The Bettendorf Public Library believes in providing all library patrons with fair and equitable access to library resources. On January 1st, 2023, the Bettendorf Public Library and RiverShare member libraries are eliminating overdue fines on most library materials and forgiving fines for BPL cardholders. 

Collections with low quantities/high demand or hard-to-replace items will continue to collect overdue fees. Those collections are Reference Materials, Hotspots and Courtesy Admission Passes. Their fee schedule is $1.00 per day.

Why remove overdue fines?
Overdue fines create unequal access to library materials and resources. They disproportionally affect low income households, and the stigma of fines and late materials often cause people to stop using the library entirely. By removing a financial barrier, the Bettendorf Library is better fulfilling its mission in “…providing access to information and ideas for all.”

How will the library get materials back?
The library will continue to send courtesy notices to cardholders with overdue materials. Patrons will be unable to check out additional materials if they have 5 or more overdue items on their account.

Do I still need to pay for lost or damaged materials?
Yes. If an item is not returned 30 days after its due date, the library charges a replacement fee. The replacement cost is waived if the material is returned in good condition. Accounts with a balance of $10 or more will be blocked from checking out additional materials.

If I have any long-overdue items, can I bring them back?
Yes, please! Bringing back long-overdue items (in good condition) will allow us to waive the replacement costs.

I paid overdue fines a few weeks ago. Can I get a refund?
No. We are unable to provide refunds for fines already paid.

How will this affect the library’s budget?
Fines and fees make up less than 1% of the library’s budget. Additionally, removing fines reduces staff time needed to collect fines and reconcile accounts—that means more time for positive and impactful interactions with our library users!

Libraries that have adopted fine-free policies have noticed little difference in turnaround rates for returned materials.

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