We are now fine free!

Fine Free Date

Lodi Public Library is fine free as of Monday, June 8, 2020.

What does this mean?

  • Your account 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 your account.
  • You will still be charged for any lost or damaged materials.
  • Charges on your account from old lost or damaged materials will remain on your account.

Do any items STILL gather fines?

  • Yes, there are some exceptions. 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.
  • Any equipment that is checked out from our building and returned late will be charged an overdue fee.

Why go fine free?


  • Inability to pay fines for late returns becomes a barrier to use. We want to do all that we can to remain accessible and reasonable, particularly for our residents with financial struggles.
  • One larger scale example of this is that during a 2017 amnesty campaign in San Francisco, the public library recovered nearly 700,000 of its items over six weeks and restored the accounts of more than 5,000 patrons.

Less Punitive, But Still Responsible

  • Fine free moves us away from a punitive model. But people still need to be responsible and we have deterrent measures in place. We’ll charge people for damaging or losing library materials, but we’d rather not penalize them for missing due dates.


  • Money from fines makes up less than 1% of our revenue each year.
  • By contrast, donations made up 16% of our revenue in 2019.
  • Lodi is a generous community. We prefer donations over money raised from fines and there are great opportunities to get involved with our library, such as donating to the Friends organization, volunteering for events to help us raise more money in the future, or becoming a member.

Achieving Our Mission

  • Our mission is to be a vital partner is our community’s quality of life. We’re committed to lifelong learning through free, non-discriminatory access to diverse information, materials, services, and programs.
  • Fine Free helps us achieve our mission. It’s a forward-looking policy, continuing the positive momentum we’ve developed over the past year and a half. It is a reasonable policy that leads to greater accessibility and a stronger community.