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Fines free library

From the 1st of October 2023, Buller District Libraries will no longer charge fines for overdue items.

We will also cancel existing fines from all library accounts, giving everyone a fresh start.

We believe in providing access to knowledge and information for all!

This means actively working to eliminate barriers to encourage community-wide use of the Library's vital materials, resources, and services.

Fines Free FAQ's

Yes! Beginning October 1, 2023, all overdue fines will be cancelled and removed from your account. 

If you haven't already paid for their replacement and processing, please return them to the library. You will not be charged any overdue fines.

Not exactly. While you won't be fined for keeping an item beyond its due date, remember that other people are waiting to enjoy and use that item.
After 21 days of being overdue, the item is automatically considered 'lost' and you will be billed for the replacement cost of the item plus a processing fee.

If you need to extend (renew) a book, DVD, or other material beyond the original due date, we encourage you to renew the item(s) online at, in person, on our Library App, by calling us on 03 788 8030, or by emailing [email protected] 

No. Items that are lost, returned with damaged or missing parts, or are otherwise not returned in the same condition as when they were checked out will be billed accordingly. (This includes processing fees).

Yes. We will continue to send reminders when your due dates are approaching and when items are overdue. To ensure that you receive these notices, please check that your email address is current in your account. 

The Library will issue reminders through email when due dates are approaching and when an item is overdue. If an item is 21 days overdue, we will consider that item 'lost' and the Library will charge your account for the item's replacement cost plus a processing fee. 

Please note, we will not be sending reminders via mail due to the cost.

Let us know if you've lost or damaged an item. Don't be embarrassed to tell us. We can give you extra time to find the item if you're still looking for it.
There will no longer be overdue fees associated with lost or damaged books, just the cost of replacement and a processing fee will be charged.
If you do have to pay for a lost or damaged item, you can pay it off a little bit at a time. 

Yes! Our goal is to get our materials back so that they can be enjoyed and checked out by more customers. Once the 'lost' items have been returned, any replacement charges affiliated with them will be removed from your account.
If you have already paid for your 'lost' materials and then return them to us, we won't be able to reimburse you as the item will likely have been replaced. But we can give you plenty of notice and time prior to getting to this stage.

Actually, other libraries that have eliminated late fees found that their on-time returns went up!
Library cardholders understand that it is their duty to return materials so that others in the community can use them. 
However, to help further incentivize people to return their items on time, the Library has increased overdue notifications. After an item is 21 days overdue, the Library considers the item 'lost' and bills the customer account for the replacement cost of the item. After 55 days overdue, the customer account may be turned over to a collections agency. The Library continues to collect fees for lost and damaged materials. 

While late returns are a reality facing every library community, none of our fellow libraries that have eliminated overdue fines have experienced increases in late returns, longer hold times, or gaps in the collection. We anticipate the same for our community!

The Library's collection budget is a percentage of the overall budget and won't be effected by the change.

Library fines were a decreasing part of the overall budget. There is also a fines collection cost in terms of staff time and resources taken to issue those fines. Due to the growing popularity of digital materials, library revenue from overdue fines has been steadily declining in recent years. 

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