Call for Public Comment: I-Share Fines and Fees

Warning message

Submissions for this form are closed.

Read the comments

At their June 12, 2020 meeting, the CARLI Board of Directors considered two proposals regarding fines and fees for I-Share and asked that these proposals be put forth for public comments. Briefly, these proposals are:

  • To end, for all I-Share libraries, all fining for overdue materials by January 1, 2021, and similarly to encourage non-I-Share CARLI Governing Members to end fining for overdue materials;
  • To eliminate, for all I-Share libraries, all processing fees for overdue and lost materials by January 1, 2021, and similarly encourage non-I-Share CARLI Governing Members to eliminate all processing fees for overdue and lost materials. 

Please note that these proposals do not recommend any alteration to the library’s ability to bill for lost items and associated actions such as holding transcripts or diplomas; the proposals speak only to fining for overdue materials and processing fees for overdue and lost materials. Comments received will be reviewed and the proposals considered at the September 2020 CARLI Board of Directors meeting

In order to facilitate member dialog about these proposals, CARLI is seeking comments from all Governing Members’ students, staff, and faculty. The comment period closed on September 1, 2020.


In 2012, the CARLI Board of Directors approved a change to the I-Share Resource Sharing Code that ended all overdue fining for items loaned between I-Share libraries. Fining between institutions was cumbersome, the cost in staff time and materials likely was not recouped by the amounts paid, the evidence that fining changed behavior for the better was minimal, and many fines were ultimately forgiven, thereby taking even more staff time and effort.

CARLI has always allowed each institution to set its own circulation policies that apply when its patrons borrow from its own collection. Some I-Share libraries do not charge overdue fines at all. Many have opted instead to use courtesy notices (sent in advance of a due date), borrowing privilege blocks, and other institutional sanctions in lieu of fines.

In the last few years there have been some highly publicized moves away from fining. The Chicago Public Library’s shift away from overdue fines in 2019 made national news. Also, in January 2019, the American Library Association adopted a resolution declaring that monetary fines are a form of social inequity as they serve as a bigger barrier to service to those of limited means than more affluent patrons. The ALA resolution,

  1. adds a statement to the [ALA] Policy Manual that establishes that “The American Library Association asserts that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”;
  2. urges libraries to scrutinize their practices of imposing fines on library patrons and actively move towards eliminating them; and
  3. urges governing bodies of libraries to strengthen funding support for libraries so they are not dependent on monetary fines as a necessary source of revenue.


ALA resolution on Monetary Fines as a Form of Social Inequity
Passed January 27, 2019

Chicago Public Library, press release on elimination of fines, October 2019

Fine Efficacy: An Experimental Study of the Effect of Daily Fines on Borrower Return Habits
Bowling Green St. Univ. 2018, Katie Mihaly and Andrea Boehme

Is it time to get rid of Fines at your library?
Brigham Young University, 2017
Duane Wilson, PowerPoint presentation with many references