Children’s & Young Adult Materials = Fine Free

Update: July 1, 2024 - Fines Free for All

We no longer charge charge fines on overdue items returned after July 1, 2024. More details.

$0 Late Fines for Children's & Young Adult Materials

The San José Public Library is excited to announce that on June 11, City Council approved the Mayor's proposal to eliminate late fines for youth during Fiscal Year 2018/19 — something the Library and Early Education Commission identified as their top priority.

"This is a BIG win for our community, educators, students and library system. Our goal is to ensure that San José youth experience greater access to Library materials and services that support their growth and learning."
—City Librarian, Jill Bourne.

When did this Fine Free Program go into effect?

The program went into effect on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Children's and Young Adult materials checked out after July 5 are covered by the new guidelines and will not accrue fines, should they be returned late.

Note: If you have accrued late fines on Children's and Young Adult materials after July 1, 2018, please contact your local SJPL branch library for assistance before paying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we doing this?

It is the mission of San José Public Library to provide equal access to information, services, and opportunities that empower, enrich, and enhance the quality of life for all.

Fines are a barrier to that access. In the 2018–2019 Adopted Operating Budget, the Mayor and City Council unanimously agreed to fund a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of eliminating late fees on juvenile materials as a way to increase access for children and families.

Expanding access to youth materials is critical to the academic success and career achievement of students in San José and eliminating fines will encourage everyone in our community to utilize the resources the Library offers.

What materials are fine free?

This pilot applies to Children's and Young Adult materials, regardless of who checks them out. Fine forgiveness will be tied specifically to the item type, not to the card type. Please check with staff for any clarification about which materials are fine free.

How is the pilot being funded, and will it impact the library's funding?

This pilot program does not impact funding available to the library. The lost revenue will be funded by the City’s Essential Services Reserve.

What if a customer already has fines on their account?

This pilot only prevents the accumulation of late fines going forward. If a customer has late fines on their account, they will need to pay those fines, or participate in Volunteer Away Your Fines, and youth can participate in Read Away Your Fines to reduce or eliminate their fines.

Will lost fees still be charged on Children's and Young Adult materials?

Yes, if a Children's or Young Adult material is not returned after 28 days the account will be billed for the item plus a $10 processing fee. Should the item be found and returned the account will not be charged any additional fees. Lost fees can be reduced or eliminated through the Volunteer Away Your Fines, and youth can participate in Read Away Your Fines.

Are we worried about our collection being depleted?

No, since Children's and Young Adult materials will still need to be returned to the Library, or they will accrue a lost fee.

Before You Pay, Find a Different Way!

Do you still have fines that don't meet the requirements for this Fine Free Program? Take control and regain access to your library with our Fine Forgiveness Programs.