Effective January 2020, borrowers will not be charged overdue fines for Anchorage Public Library items. We are excited to take this positive step to improve the library experience for our community. Learn more about this change and what it means for you.
Why No Fines?
Research has shown that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library material. Instead, they can quickly become a barrier to using the library altogether.
We understand that our patrons have busy lives and can't always make it into the Library in a timely manner. With the elimination of overdue fines, the Anchorage Public Library has joined libraries across the country in choosing to focus on making the time our users spend in the Library as positive and productive as possible.
This means a new year = a new start for many! Simply contact us in any way - stop in, call, email, Facebook message us or send a carrier pigeon - and we will waive all your Anchorage Public Library overdue fines. Here is some fine print on that:
Every item checked out still has a due date. Cardholders are responsible for honoring the due date by returning or renewing the item. Remember someone else may be waiting for that item. Please bring it back on time.
APL Items Only
The No-Fines policy applies only to items belonging to the Anchorage Public Library. Late fines may still be charged for items from partner libraries and Interlibrary loan items.
Overdue Items Only
Fines are different than fees. The No-Fines policy applies only to overdue items. Fees for damaged or lost items will still be charged to cardholder accounts. (See the Lost / Damaged Materials policy for more information.)
Once your card reaches a total of $25 in fines (from other libraries) or fees (replacement/damage) your library account will be blocked. When that happens, you will not be able to check out more items or access certain streaming or digital content until the overdue item is returned and/or your late fines from other libraries are paid.
I JUST paid my late fines. Can I get them back?
Unfortunately, no refunds can be issued on previously paid fines or fees.
I have an APL late fine from the early 80’s, can I get that waived?
Yup. All APL late fines, no matter how old will be waived. Just stop in and see us.
But I thought my fines helped support the library? What will you do now?
Late fines were a revenue item for the library required by the Municipality of Anchorage. If we did not meet that revenue, we had to make it up with other sources or cuts to services. We are no longer responsible for that revenue item.
If you’d like to support the library directly please consider a donation to the Friends of The Library or Anchorage Library Foundation. Learn more at www.librarychampion.com.
What about revenue?
Projected fine collection for 2019 was only 1.8% of the city’s fines and forfeitures budget; .02% of the overall revenue distribution budget; and .07% of the Library’s operating budget. Anchorage Public Library will continue to promote additional revenue streams through services including facilities rentals and issuing passports. We will also continue taking in replacement fees for lost/damaged items.
I borrowed an item from another Alaska library and checked it out from an APL Library. Do I still owe a late fine if I return it late?
Yes, if the library the item belongs to charges late fines, you will owe to that library. Fines may be paid online, to that library directly or at any APL location.
I found an item that I’m being charged for as “lost.” Can I bring it back?
Yep, please do! There won’t be any fines, but you may still be responsible for a $5 processing fee depending on how long it’s been “lost.”
What about hold times, will I have to wait forever for my item?
We will be monitoring hold times along with other metrics as we progress through the year. Typically hold times are long because demand of our Library super users is high and no matter how many copies we buy of popular titles, they will always have holds during their first few months of release. Research has shown that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library material.
Who can I talk to if I have questions?
Get in touch with us at (907) 343-2975, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit any library in person. You’re the reason we do what we do, so let us know how we can help you!
Want to know more about how APL made the decision to go fine free? Check out some of the latest research on how libraries are making the switch to no late fines: