Fine Free FAQs

CAPL is fine-free as of July 1, 2020. Fines are no longer a barrier to access materials and knowledge. 


What does fine-free mean to you?
Fine-free does not mean that you get to keep your items forever. We do want our materials back. It does mean that when materials are returned late, you will not be charged any late fees. If you choose to check out material from another local library that is not fine-free, fines will still be charged.

If you stop charging fines, what incentive is there to bring back your checked out items?
We hope that you will return your items in a timely fashion because it is the right thing to do.

As added incentives, accounts will be blocked from further checkouts when material is overdue by 14 days or more. Accounts will be blocked from further checkouts when certain Library of Things items and STEM Kits are overdue by 10 days or more. At 45 days overdue items will be considered lost and will automatically be charged to the patron’s account, including a $5.00 processing fee. Unreturned material that is valued over $50.00 will also be subject to referral to a collection agency. This will automatically occur at 30 days past the initial charge at 45 days overdue. This will result in a $11.00 charge to the account, which will not be waived, even if the item(s) is returned at a later date.

Will you still receive notices when checked out items are coming due or overdue?
Yes, you will be receiving the same notices you had prior to fine-free, delivered in your requested manner.

What happens with the current charges on an account?
If all items have been returned, past overdue fines that you incurred at Cary Area Library will be waived. Fines from checkouts at other libraries and bills for lost, damaged or collection accounts will not be waived.

What happens when an item is returned after it is billed to an account?
The bill for replacement cost and processing fee will be removed from the account if the item is returned within 60 days from the date it was billed, which occurs at 45 days overdue. Any collection fees will not be waived. We will not accept any returns past this 60 day window, since the item will have been replaced. The Cary Area Library does not accept replacement copies in lieu of payment.

If a patron pays for an item and then finds it, can they return that item for a refund?
Yes, if that item is returned within the 60-day return window, the patron’s account will be credited and a refund check will be issued. Collection fees, if charged, will not be refunded.

Will taxes increase as a result of going fine-free?
Happily, the answer is no! The Cary Area Public Library has seen a significant decrease in fine revenue since the start of automatic renewals and has been working hard to establish other sources of revenue. One of the main changes has been the revenue received from accepting passport applications.