New policy also waives existing overdue fines
Starting May 1, Eugene Public Library no longer charges overdue fines. Additionally, any existing overdue fines have been removed from accounts. As a result, many Eugene Public Library cards that were blocked because of overdue fines are again free to use.
This policy aims to make library use as easy and accessible as possible for all community members.
The library stopped charging overdue fines on children's and teen items in January 2020. That change encouraged library card sign-ups and increased use, without causing any problems.
In taking this approach, Eugene is part of a trend sweeping public libraries nationwide. Under the old policy, if borrowers were unable to get to the library to return items before due dates, the combined overdue fines could block use of the card until payment was made. This created an unnecessary barrier to library use, particularly for those already facing financial challenges. The risk of overdue fines led some people to borrow fewer items or not use the library at all.
“Eugene Public Library’s mission is to make books and other items and services easily available to the community,” Library Director Will O’Hearn said. "Overdue fines can get in the way. Plus, the fines can easily add up, especially for anyone already facing financial challenges.”
Many public libraries nationwide have adopted similar overdue fine-free policies Based on those libraries’ experiences and its own, Eugene Public Library expects most items will continue to be returned on time, because library borrowers respect the need to make items available for others to use.
Items that have not been returned to Eugene Public Library by 30 days after the due date will continue to be marked as “lost,” with the account charged for replacement costs.
For more information, contact Eugene Public Library at 541-682-5450 or eugene-or.gov/library.