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Fine Free FAQs

What does "fine free" mean?

"Fine free" means the library will no longer charge daily fines for overdue items.

If an item is damaged or lost, replacement fees will still apply.

Why is NBPL going fine free?
  • It’s good for our community: New Braunfels benefits from an engaged community, and we want all members of the community to have access to the programs, information, services, and materials they need to pursue their goals in life—regardless of their ability to pay for them. Eliminating economic barriers (overdue fines) encourages former library patrons to come back  and attracts new patrons who can benefit from library offerings.

  • Overdue fines aren't effective: Studies, and the experience of fine-free libraries, suggest that small fines have no impact on return rates, and may in fact discourage the return of library materials.
  • It’s good for relationships: Sometimes life gets in the way of bringing back library materials—we get it. And when you do come to the library, library staff want to help you, not pester you about overdue fines. Besides, collecting and processing late fines takes up valuable staff time—time that can be better spent assisting patrons, developing programs, and expanding our services.
Do I still have to pay old overdue fines?

No! All existing overdue fines are cleared from all patron accounts as of Feb. 1, 2020. Charges for lost or damaged items will remain on your account. You can check on any charges in your account by logging in online here or by calling the library at 830-221-4300.

Aren't you worried library materials won't come back?

While there are always a handful of library users who won't return things, studies actually show that as a whole, fine-free libraries see a faster return of borrowed materials. But to encourage the timely return of library materials, patron accounts will be blocked from further checkouts when one or more items on the account reaches 14 days past the final due date. If items remain out past 14 days, the item will be considered "lost" and the patron will be billed a replacement fee for the item. If the patron returns the item, the block and the charge on the account will be lifted.

Doesn't the library need income from fines?

Revenue from overdue fines has always gone into the City of New Braunfels' general fund, not directly back to the library. If you want to make a donation that goes directly back into library (programming, expansion of electronic resources, etc.), the Friends of the Library is the best route for you.

NBPL Goes Fine Free

The New Braunfels Public Library is going fine free beginning Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020! This means going forward, there will be no overdue fines for late materials. This change in policy is intended to ensure equitable access to library services for everyone in the New Braunfels community.

Libraries across the country (and around the world) are increasingly going fine free as a way to eliminate an economic barrier to the access of library materials. In January 2019 the American Library Association passed a resolution urging libraries to examine their fine policies and actively move toward eliminating them.

City Council Presentation

Current Fine Free Libraries Worldwide

TED Talk-Free is Key: Library Fines & Access

Fine Free Process

700 East Common Street, New Braunfels, TX, 78130    •    Phone: (830) 221-4300    •    SMS: (830) 253-4804    •    Fax: (830) 608-2154