Library to Eliminate Fines

As of Sept. 16, the Alameda Free Library has eliminated all overdue fines on all library materials and waived any previous fines. According to a a press release, “The Library understands life happens, and that it can be difficult to return items on time. Late fines can add up and visiting the library can start to feel like a burden, especially on your wallet.”

The library expressed its commitment to providing equal access to every member of the community regardless of income. Eliminating fines offers a fresh start to rediscover the library and all that it has to offer. Of more than 79,000 cardholders in the city, more than 26,000 customers had overdue fines removed from their accounts, which included 8,000 cards for children. 

The decision to eliminate fines was made by the Library Board with staff input and is supported by the Alameda City Council. Overdue fine transactions accounted for 82 percent of library customer transactions. The move allows staff to focus on creativity and exceptional service, as well as other projects. 

The current three week check-out period will remain, but fines will not accrue if items are not returned on time. There will be the added convenience of two automatic renewals. However, if an item is on hold for another customer, it will not be renewed and the customer will be asked to return it. In order to ensure everyone has plenty of books to enjoy, customers will still be responsible for books that are not returned. In addition, the library will still have fees for the replacement of library cards and printing. 

To encourage returning library customers who may have lost their library cards, the library is waiving the fine for replacement library cards until Thursday, Oct. 31. Learn more at