Fine-Free F.A.Q.

As of July 1, 2022, the Jessamine County Public Library has eliminated overdue fines! Read more about the decision here or find answers to your questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does JCPL want to eliminate overdue fines?

    • Eliminating overdue fines improves access to libraries and creates a more welcoming environment. Plenty of external factors and personal circumstances prevent library users from returning items on time, including transportation and work obligations. Assessing overdue fines adds another obstacle for library users to overcome in their pursuit of information. We want to remove this obstacle and ensure that customers from all walks of life can access the library’s materials and services without worry or risk.
    • Data shows that public libraries that end collection of overdue fines often see an increase in the return rate of overdue items: overdue materials come back to the library sooner and, without a bill or apology to pay, so do their borrowers.
    • Libraries that have gone fine-free have also seen raised circulation numbers, lapsed users return to the library, increased staff morale, and more library cards issued to children.
    • In short: JCPL wants customers to feel comfortable and confident when borrowing library materials. We won’t withhold library service because of one’s inability to pay overdue fines.
  • Who made this decision?

    • Together with the library’s Executive and Assistant Directors, JCPL’s five-member Board of Trustees voted to approve the new fine-free policy in late April of 2022.
  • What influenced this decision?

    • JCPL is committed to serving our community, and as such, has made significant strides toward reducing barriers to accessing the library.
    • In the summer of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, all overdue fines were forgiven. A few months later, JCPL introduced autorenewals allowing customers to keep items for additional loan cycles—if there are no holds on the item—without taking any action. This was closely followed by the implementation of a 7-day grace period, meaning no fines are assessed for the first 7 days an item is overdue.
    • All three of these initiatives served to ease the burden on customers already stressed by a global pandemic and can be seen as the first steps towards JCPL becoming a fine-free library.
    • We made the decision to eliminate overdue fines with special consideration paid to our mission and strategic goals, which you can read here.
  • How does this impact the library’s revenue?

    • Eliminating overdue fines has a negligible impact on JCPL’s revenue: in fiscal year 2020-2021, overdue fines accounted for less than 1% of JCPL’s income.
  • Will JCPL forgive my current fine balance?

    • Yes! JCPL is offering overdue fine forgiveness to all customers.
    • If you see overdue fines on your library card account after July 1, please call (859) 885-3523 or speak to someone at the Customer Service Desk at our main location.
  • Will I still receive reminders to return items and overdue notices?

    • JCPL customers will continue to receive due date reminders, as well as overdue notices 7 and 28 days past the due date.
  • Should I renew materials I wish to keep longer?

    • As long as there are no holds on your items, we will automatically renew them for you once you reach the end of the loan period. Items will continue to auto-renew until they have met their renewal limit. No action is necessary.
    • Manage your library card account online at any time or using the official JCPL mobile app (available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store).
  • What happens if I lose an item? Will I be charged other fees?

    • Customers are still financially responsible for lost items. Library materials that are not returned within 45 days of their due dates are considered lost. At that time, your account will be billed the replacement cost.
  • I borrowed library materials a long time ago, but I still have them. What do I do?

    • If you have a book, DVD, or any other library item from years ago that just never got returned, you can rest easy and bring it back to JCPL with no worries.
  • I haven’t been to the library in a while. Will my old card work? How can I get a new one?

    • Welcome back! Your card may have expired since the last time you visited the library. To renew your library card, stop by the main library, call us at (859) 885-3523, or text us at (859) 538-5885 (standard messaging rates apply).
    • If this is your first time signing up for a library card, take a look at Get a Library Card.