What does this mean for you?

Late fines will no longer be charged on items borrowed from Charles County Public Library. Fines and fees may apply to items borrowed at the other Southern Maryland libraries.

Late/overdue fines VS Lost/damaged fees

Late/overdue fines are fines that were accrued when an overdue library item was not returned by its due date. As of right now, these fines will no longer be charged by Charles County Public Library. If your home library was a CCPL Library location on March 8, 2021, all old fines will be waived. Don’t worry if you still have a balance on your account, we are working to update this in our system. That update should be completed in May 2021.

Lost/damaged fees are fees that are generated when a library material is never returned, or returned damaged. These will be removed for minors until July 1, 2021, after that date fees for lost/damaged items will continue to be charged. Any lost/damaged fees on adult accounts will not be waived, and will continue to be charged as necessary.

Please note that this also includes customers who were minors at the time the fees were incurred and are now adults. 

Do I still have to pay a fine that was on my account prior to CCPL’s Fine Free announcement?​

If you had overdue fines from checking out materials at a CCPL Library location as of March 8, 2021, all old fines will be waived. However, if you checked out materials from another southern Maryland library and have overdue fines, those fines will not be automatically waived.

With the passage of The Building Lifelong Learners Act of 2020, which makes all public library accounts for minors in the state of Maryland fine-free, CCPL and its Board of Trustees also voted to go fine free system wide. 

Will lost/damaged fees be forgiven?

The Building Lifelong Learners Act of 2020 also stipulates that by July 1, 2021 all minors be given a clean slate, so lost/damaged fees on minors’ accounts will be waived. The law does say that after July 1, 2021 libraries can continue to bill minors for lost/damaged items. After July 1, 2021 minors just will not be assessed overdue fines. 

Any lost/damaged fees on adult accounts will not be waived. 

If all fines have been waived, why does my account still have a balance?

While CCPL is forgiving all late fines and no longer charging for overdue items, you will still need to pay for lost or damaged materials. You may also have charges on your account for copying, printing or faxing, as well as fines for Marina/OCLC item(s).

Don’t worry if you still have a balance on your account for overdue fines. We are working to update this in our system. That update should be completed in May 2021.

What happens when I return items in another county?

Late fines are determined by the location where you checked the item out. If you checked items out in Charles County, then no overdue fines will accrue.

How will the Library get people to return borrowed materials?

“No late fines” does not mean that customers can keep their items forever. Forty five (45) days after the final due date, materials that are not returned will be considered “lost” and customers will be billed the replacement cost of each item. Customers may return materials at any time to have their lost fees removed from their account. If an account has charges of $50 or more, borrowing privileges are suspended and approximately (60) days after the final due date, the account will be referred to a materials recovery service and a non-waivable $10 fee will be added to the account. Borrowing privileges for library cards will be restored when materials are returned and/or the balance is paid in full.

I still have materials checked out from before the Library temporarily closed. What should I do?

Due dates for many library materials checked out during the pandemic have been extended for a final time to May 1, 2021. (Check your account online or contact us to confirm the due dates on your checkouts). While we will not be charging any overdue fines after this date, it is still important to return your library materials so that other customers can enjoy them. All book drops at our branch buildings are open 24/7 and available for materials to be returned. Mobile Hotspots may be returned by making a Curbside Pickup appointment and bringing them to the branch of your choice, calling any of our branches to arrange a drop off, or by visiting the Mobile Library or Outreach Van.

Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?

Yes, you will receive reminder notifications if you have provided an email address and selected “email notification.” We strongly encourage you to supply an email address to receive detailed library notifications. These can be very helpful in remembering when items are due. The library can also send text messages, however text notifications contain limited information and text rates from your cellular carrier may apply.

  • 3 Days Before Due Date: Reminder Email
  • 7 Days After Due Date: Reminder Email
  • 21 Days After Due Date: Reminder Email 
  • 45 Days After Due Date: Item considered lost, bill emailed for replacement cost
  • 45 Days After Due Date: Paper notice of billing mailed to “mail only” customers
  • 60 Days After Due Date: Notice is mailed by materials recovery service to customers who 
  • have over $50.00 in bills.

What does “fine free” mean for the CCPL operating budget?

Overdue fines make up less than one percent of the library’s annual budget, and the actual amount of fines revenue that the library received was less than one percent of our total revenue. The library’s passport services will help to fill any void that loss of fines revenue could create. 

Do you still offer auto renewal?

Yes, we are still offering our convenient auto-renewal system. This means that eligible items will be automatically renewed three days before their due date. Most items can be renewed up to four times.

Auto-renewal does not work with:

  • Items that have been placed on hold (requested) by another customer
  • Items that have reached their renewal limit
  • Express and digital items
  • Blocked library accounts – customers with a balance of $25 or more will be blocked from renewing, checking out, placing holds, or downloading digital materials.