Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library is now Fine Free!
As of July 1, 2022, Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library no longer charges overdue fines on books and other items. All accumulated fines for overdue materials have been waived.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How does it work?
Every item checked out still has a due date. You are responsible for returning items by that due date. Please remember that someone else may be waiting for an item, so bring your material back on time.
Does Fine Free mean I can keep my items?
No, you should still return items by the due date so your neighbors can use them, too! Once an item is 21 days overdue, your library account will be blocked from further use until you either return the item in good condition or pay for the lost item.
Will I get notified when I have overdue items?
- A first notice is sent when items are one week overdue;
- A second notice is sent when items are two weeks overdue;
- When an item reaches three weeks overdue, it will be declared lost. A bill for the Lost Item Replacement Fee will be sent when the item is three weeks overdue.
Notices and bills will be delivered via email, text message/SMS, automated phone call, or postal mail, depending on the opt-in preference in your library card record.
Why is my account blocked?
Once the fees on your library account reach a total of $10.00 – your account will be blocked. When that happens, you will not be able to check out more items. Returning the overdue item(s), or paying the bill (if the item cannot be returned due to loss or damage) will remove the block and the Lost Item Replacement Fee.
What does fine free mean to me?
You are still responsible for bringing materials back. Being fine free means that the library will no longer charge a daily fine for overdue materials. You will still be charged the replacement cost for lost or damaged items.
Why is the library going fine free?
Our goal is to ensure that our community has equitable access to the items and services the library has to offer. Research shows that overdue fines are not an effective way to encourage the return of library materials. Instead, fines can quickly become a barrier to using the library.
We know that sometimes it can be difficult to return items on time. The library does not want overdue fines to discourage anyone from checking out books or other resources that our libraries offer.
MFRL has been fine free for children’s material since July 2018. Checkout of these materials has increased, and more children’s books are in circulation than before.
Why do I still have charges on my account?
Patrons are still responsible for the replacement cost of lost or damaged materials and for fees for ILL materials.
A FEE is an amount of money billed to your account for lost, damaged, or unreturned library material or for other services.
A FINE is a daily accrual of money owed to the library for items being overdue.
What about my holds? Will I be waiting longer for them?
Good news! Other Virginia libraries report that most people still return their materials on time and that waitlists are not affected by going fine free. We regularly run reports to let us know what the most popular titles are so that we can purchase additional copies. Additionally, patrons will receive more timely notification about overdue items to encourage return of materials. As always, Items with holds on them may not be renewed.
What are the current loan periods?
Materials circulate for different loan periods; see our Circulation Information page for details about loan periods.
Why did you decide to eliminate overdue fines?
The Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library Board of Trustees voted in March 2022 to transition to a fine free lending environment to encourage use of library materials, and ensure that no one will be prevented from using the library because of overdue fines. This followed a January 2019 American Library Association (ALA) resolution that asserted overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them.
We are joining the ranks of many other public libraries across the state and the nation in the movement to go fine-free. In the lead-up to this decision, we carefully reviewed studies and articles about eliminating fines. Some examples of these include: