Fine Free

No More Late Fines

No More Late Fines!

Beginning Tuesday, January 16, 2024, the Des Moines Public Library no longer charges late fines for books, DVDs, CDs, and more materials.

This policy, approved by the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees on Tuesday, December 19, also retroactively eliminates all past late fines on library accounts. Patrons whose library cards have been blocked due to past unpaid late fines are now able to renew their library cards and use the library again.

In addition, all items checked out will automatically renew up to two times as long as there are no holds placed on the item.

Some fines and fees will remain, including:

  • Fees for lost or damaged library materials. Current lost or damaged fees will remain on cardholder accounts.
  • Overdue fines for Library of Things, board games, hotspots, and Interlibrary Loan items. These fines are 50 cents per day, for a maximum of six days, at which time they will become “lost” items.

“Late fines disproportionately impact children and families in low-income households, and we continue to reduce more barriers to using the public library and its wonderful services,” Des Moines Public Library Director Susan A. Woody said. “We want those who have not been able to use us due to late fines to come back to the library.”

This new policy continues a recent DMPL strategic initiative to reduce fines and fees, which include eliminating late fines on children and teen materials in 2020, reducing other late fines from 25 cents to 10 cents a day in 2020, and eliminating checkout fees for DVDs and Interlibrary Loan items in 2022. Late fines made up a miniscule amount of the library’s operating budget in recent years.

No More Late Fines FAQ

Most DMPL items will no longer have late fines. This includes books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, print magazines, STEM/Literacy kits, and book club sets, among other items.

Fines will remain on some specialty materials. This includes items in our Library of Things, board games, laptops, hotspots, and Interlibrary Loan materials. Those late fines will be 50 cents per day, with a maximum of $3 per item.

No! All previous late fines will be removed from your account. Lost and damaged item fees will remain, but items that were considered lost within the last three months may be returned to remove the lost item fee from your account.

If your library card was blocked due to unpaid late fines, you may now be able to use your card. Please reach out to the library for more information.

Though we no longer charge late fines, we will continue to charge fees for lost and damaged items.

  • A majority of items will be considered lost if they are not returned 14 days after their due date.
  • Specialty items, such as items in our Library of Things, board games, hotspots, Interlibrary Loan materials, will be considered lost six days after their due date.
  • Laptops are considered lost if they are not returned on their due date.

The library will notify you when an item is considered lost and include the fee that will be needed to replace that item.

If you return an item that's the library considers lost within three months of the day it was marked as lost, we will remove the lost item fee from your account.

Items without holds will now automatically renew before the due date. If the item you have checked out does not have a hold on it, it will automatically renew two times. You no longer have to log in to your account and renew items.

If your item does have a hold on it, it will not renew, and you will receive notice prior to and on the date the date the item is due. You will continue to receive notices throughout the time they are overdue.

Some specialty items will not automatically renew. These include laptops, hotspots, ILL (inter-library loan) materials, book club sets, and book bundles.