Fine Free Library

Effective October 19th 2020 The La Valle Public Library will be Fine Free.

What does this mean?

  • Patrons will not be fined for any items checked out at our library that are returned late.
  • Old charges connected to overdue materials checked out from our library will be removed from Patrons account.
    (Please recognize that waiving old overdue fines on patron accounts may take up to two weeks to process)

Does this mean there is no fines charged for anything?

No. Some charges still apply:

  • Patrons will still be charged for any lost or damaged materials.
  • Charges on patron accounts from old lost or damaged materials will remain on patron accounts.
  • Equipment, such as the Hot Spot, will still be charged late fees.
  • OuterLibrary Loans (OLLs), which are materials that we get from outside of our library system, will still be fined for being late. Other systems are doing us a favor by lending these items, so we want to do all that we can to respect the lending periods they set.
  • Materials checked out at other libraries may still be charged over due fines depending on that library's fine policy.

Responsible stewardship is still expected:

  • You'll still be expected to return items by their due dates, so that all patrons have a chance to use them.
  • If you keep an item too long, it will still go to Lost status and a replacement charge will show up on your account. But as always, that charge disappears when you return the item in good condition.
  • If you lose or damage an item, you will still be charged a replacement fee.

Why would the library not charge late fees for overdue material?

Research from the American Library Association (ALA) and other sources shows that overdue fines disproportionately affect low-income patrons and create a barrier to accessing the library. Libraries are recognizing overdue fines as an equity issue.

The idea that overdue fines motivate people to stick to due dates has also been debunked: libraries without fines do as well or better at receiving materials on time. For people who can afford them, late fees are too small to make a difference. For those who struggle financially, a fine can become a reason to be wary of checking out materials and may prevent the patron from coming back at all.

With the COVID-19 crisis, there is currently a high rate of joblessness nationally and locally. Going fine free is a step the La Valle Library has decided to take to help lessen the financial worries of our community. During crisis times especially we want everyone to have access to library materials, no matter their job or financial status.

Many students in our school district are learning remotely or homeschooling. These students have limited access to school libraries, and so are relying more heavily on public library resources. The La Valle Library is committed to ensuring all students have full access to library materials no matter their family’s financial status.

Many libraries in Sauk County and the South Central Library System have already gone fine free.

Will this affect our budget?


  • Fine revenue for the La Valle Public Library has not added a significant amount to our budget, adding up to less than 1% of all revenue.


Going Fine Free is a step closer to our mission statement: Enrich Lives, Promote Learning, Connect Community.