Fine Free Library

Fine Free Library

We have an exciting announcement to share with you. Effective October 3, 2022, Watsonville Public Library has eliminated overdue fines for all Library patrons. This move ensures that our public library is living up to its commitment to provide free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. 

Also, all outstanding overdue fines will be cleared from all patron records. No exceptions, no questions.

The Library encourages patrons to return books in a responsible and timely fashion to the Library so others may enjoy our shared resources. 

Why did the Library decide to eliminate overdue fines? 

Inspired by other library systems in the tri-county that had eliminated fines for overdue materials for patrons of all ages, the Library Director, Alicia Martinez approached the Library Board of Trustees with the request to go fine free. At the August 18, 2022 Library Board of Trustee meeting, the Board unanimously voted to eliminate overdue fines.

Research has produced a substantial body of data regarding the impacts of eliminating overdue charges. That data supports the following positive outcomes:

► Increased patron access to materials and services
► Reduction of the inequitable impact of overdue fines
► Improved patron relationships with their library
► Optimization of library staff time and increased staff efficiency

Additionally, research shows overdue fines do not ensure borrowed materials end up back on shelves.

What if I misplaced a book and can’t return it?  Did the Watsonville Public Library eliminate replacement fees?

While the Library eliminated overdue fines, Library users are still responsible for fees associated with the replacement of lost or damaged books and other materials they check out.

Under this new policy, it is important to understand the difference between overdue fines and billed-item fees

► Overdue fines are the daily charges applied to items not returned by their specified due date. These are the fines that will no longer be charged to patrons. 
Billed-item fees, or just fees, represent the charges applied for lost, damaged, or unreturned materials and these fees are still in effect.

From all of us here at the Watsonville Public Library, we thank you for your continued patronage and support.