NEW Library Policy Changes

Policy Changes Effective January 1, 2023

  • ALL items that checkout will be loaned for twenty one (21) days.
  • Overdue items will automatically be renewed up to two (2) times IF NOBODY ELSE HAS REQUESTED THE ITEM.
  • All renewal extensions will be for twenty one (21) days, just like the original loan.
  • If you exceed the two (2) automatic renewals, or keep an item that someone else has requested, the item will be overdue. If you have an overdue item, you will not be allowed to checkout additional material.
  • Long overdue items will be considered lost on the account, and the account holder will be responsible for the cost of the lost item.
  • Account holders will be responsible for costs related to damage of items.
  • Accounts exceeding $25.00 in lost or damaged item fees will be turned over to a debt recovery provider and an additional $15.00 will be assessed to the account for this service.
  • New and renewed accounts will be active for one (1) year, Temporary accounts are active for ninety (90) days. Photo identification is required to create, renew, or re-instate expired accounts.
  • Email notifications are now available. Please help us keep costs down and consider opting in for Email Notification.
  • YOUR Library is FINE FREE!

If you have questions, let’s talk!

Sky Seery, Library Director
308-535-8036 ext. 3321
Drop us an email

Frequently Asked Questions (faq)

North Platte Public Library (NPPL) is thrilled to remove this barrier to our resources and to provide more equitable library access to everyone in our communities.

Why eliminate late return fines?

Digital materials are never “overdue” and never have fines. If you have the means to buy a digital device, you can avoid overdue fines. If you have the means to obtain Internet access, you can bypass the physical library and fines altogether. Hence fines disproportionately affect people at the bottom end of the socio-economic status or those that live where the Internet is unavailable.

Automatic renewal also drastically reduces overdue fines. During the pandemic, we implemented grace periods to prevent fines on materials in quarantine and we saw no change in the rate of material returns. Research has shown that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library materials. However, fines can quickly become a barrier to using the library.

In addition, if you use digital library materials, you never have overdue fines. Patrons who continue to use print materials are at a disadvantage to those who use digital materials. It didn’t seem fair.

We know that life happens sometimes and it can be difficult to return items on time, so we don’t want overdue fines to discourage patrons from the invaluable free technology, literacy, and lifelong learning resources that your library offers.

Patrons no longer need to worry about overdue fines in the future or the past. All existing NPPL overdue late fines are in the process or have been waived.

Due Dates

Every item checked out will still have a due date. Please remember that someone else may be waiting for an item, so bring it back on time. You will be receiving more frequent reminders about overdue materials. If someone else has placed a hold on an item, it will not be automatically renewed. There is a limit to the number of times you can renew an item, even if nobody is waiting for it. Fine free does NOT mean you get to keep the item forever, it just means if you bring it back within a reasonable timeframe, you won’t be penalized.

We changed our loan time so all items check out for 21 days. In the past, video and magazine materials checked out for 7 days, while books and audiobooks on CD were 21 days. This meant that people who visit the library and checkout multiple types of materials had to return them at different times. By simplifying all loan periods to 21 days, this eliminates confusion about due dates. Everything that circulates has the same loan period.

Automatic Renewal

When materials are automatically renewed, patrons receive notification of items renewed and a new due date via email. If materials cannot be renewed (someone else has requested it, renewal limit met, etc.), patrons are notified by email and an overdue notice (print or email) is generated.

Damaged or Lost Items

Our fine free initiative applies only to overdue items. Fees for damaged or lost items will still be charged to cardholder accounts. In addition, should a cardholder’s account reach $25.00 in these types of fees, the account is assessed a material recovery fee and turned over to an asset recovery service.

Blocked Accounts

Once your card has any single item overdue for more than 7 days, your library account will be blocked. When that happens, you will not be able to check out more items or access certain digital content until the overdue items are returned. You will receive multiple notifications about the overdue items, eventually being billed for the overdue items when they have been overdue for 60 days.

I have a card with old late fines on it. Can I still use it?

Yes! All existing overdue fines are in the process or have been waived. Some patrons may still see charges for lost or damaged items. These charges will remain on the account, only late return fines are being waived. Please get in touch with us if you have questions about your account.

What about the lost revenue that overdue fines generated? How can I support the library?

The revenue from overdue fines was less than 1 percent of NPPL’s budget. We have a donation / conscience jar at the desk to which you can contribute. You can also make donations to the Friends of the North Platte Public Library, or the North Platte Public Library Foundation, Inc. The Friends of the North Platte Public Library help fund programming, materials, and special projects for the library. The North Platte Public Library Foundation, Inc. is a fund at Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, designed to help build a future library.

I found an item that I’m being charged for as “lost.” Can I bring it back?

Absolutely, YES, please do! There won’t be any overdue fines, but you may still be responsible for fees related to asset recovery. Items returning over 120 days after becoming overdue will still be responsible for the cost of the item as we likely have removed it completely from our system. Re-cataloging long lost materials that may be outdated or has already been replaced is not in our budget or our community’s best interest. However, please talk with us, we may be able to negotiate a lower charge depending on the item.

If an item in my care was damaged or lost, can I bring in a replacement?

Maybe. It really depends on the item. If it is outdated or has already been replaced, we will likely not accept an additional copy in lieu of the cost of the item. The item has to be similar – for example we may accept a 4th edition of something, if you have damaged or lost a 3rd edition item but not the reverse. We will not accept a paperback, if you have lost the hardback version of the item. Paperbacks typically are cheaper and do not wear as well as hardbacks. If it is an audiobook on CD for example, and the damaged/lost item was an unabridged audio, we will not accept an abridged version of the same title. There are costs incurred for re-cataloging and processing replacement materials. It really is in the community’s best interest if you accept responsibility for items in your care and either return them on time or pay for them when unfortunate events happen.

What if I pay for an item that is lost and later find it? Can I get a refund of what I paid if I bring it back?

Maybe. If you return the item over 120 days after you pay for it, you will not get a refund because we will have removed it from our collections. If you return it within 120 days of paying for the item, you should get an automatic refund. We will work with you, please keep the lines of communication open.

What about hold times? Will I have to wait forever for my item?

Patrons will be receiving additional and more frequent notifications about overdue items to encourage them to return materials. Research has shown that overdue fines are not effective in encouraging the return of library material. Plus, items with requests, will not be renewed.

How soon will my account expire?

Previously, most accounts (Adult, Youth, and Child accounts) expired after five (5) years. Any account created or renewed after October 1, 2022 will be active for 365 days, except Temporary cards, which will remain active for 90 days. Reciprocal Borrowing (NebrasKards) and Out of County accounts already expire every 365 days.

We have eliminated address checks between expirations, meaning renewing account holders will only be asked to verify their account information and present photo ID once per year.

If the account was created or renewed previous to October 1, 2022, most accounts will remain active for five (5) years from the date the account was created or renewed. As we continue to evaluate the length of time it will take for accounts to expire on their own, we may update our policies to catch up all accounts to a 365 day expiration. Without address checks, if a significant amount of notifications (print and email) are returned as undeliverable, we may push accounts to expire sooner.

If you would like to help us keep your accounts current and be proactive, please ask us to expire your account in 1 year during your next checkout.

Why did you decide to eliminate overdue fines?

In January 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) passed a resolution that asserted overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them. The ALA is our largest professional organization and we give serious consideration to their resolutions.

In going fine free, we are joining the ranks of many other public libraries across the nation. In the lead-up to this decision, we carefully reviewed studies and articles about eliminating fines. Some examples of these include:

Are Fines Effective? Access Services Conference 2017 Poster

Lightfoot’s decision to eliminate library fines triggers 240% increase in book returns

Removing Barriers to Access: Eliminating Library Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials

The case against library fines–according to the head of The New York Public Library