Fines Free


We no longer charge overdue fines for Platteville Public Library materials. This change will help everyone have access to library materials and services.

What happens to late fines that are already on my account?

They’re gone! We’ve waived earlier overdue Platteville fines.

If there are no fines, what keeps me from not returning items?

There are still consequences if you don’t return items. If an item is 30 days overdue, the item will be marked as “lost” on your account. Your borrowing privileges will be suspended until you return the item and you’ll be charged a replacement fee based on the cost of the item. When you return the lost item, the replacement fee will be waived and your borrowing privileges will be restored.

What does it mean to have borrowing privileges suspended?

You won’t be able to check out any additional items.

Can I still use the library if my borrowing privileges are suspended?

Yes, library facilities, services, and events are open to everyone.

Why are there still fees on my account?

You may still have fees if you have items on your account that need to be returned, you returned an item that was damaged, or you have fines from other libraries in Southwest Wisconsin.

Does this eliminate all fees?

Accidents happen. You’ll be charged a replacement fee for items that are damaged beyond use. We know that library items see a lot of use, and you won’t be charged for normal wear and tear.

What about items checked out from other libraries in the Southwest Wisconsin Library System (SWLS)?

Other libraries in SWLS may still charge fines. If you checked out an item at another SWLS library, that item is subject to the lending library’s policies. If you have fines from other SWLS libraries, your fines must be under $10 to check out at the Platteville Public Library.

What about items that I checked out at the Platteville Public Library that came from another SWLS library?

There will be no fines on items checked out at the Platteville Public Library and returned to the Platteville Public Library, no matter which Southwest Wisconsin Library System library owns the item.

What if I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find an item that I checked out?

Check with our circulation team first to find out more about your options. You can pay the replacement cost for the item. You can also replace lost Platteville Public Library items with a new or like new copy.

Why the change?

There are many reasons why we have decided to stop charging overdue fines, but the main one is that overdue fines are widely recognized as a form of social inequity. The American Library Association and others have confirmed that imposing fines neither teaches responsibility nor motivates borrowers to return items on time. Instead, charging fines makes people less likely to return to the library. It also can keep people, including families and children, from using the library in the first place if they fear being responsible for fines they cannot pay.

Will this loss of revenue hurt the library?

The loss of revenue will be minimal. We believe the benefits to our community are more important than the loss of revenue from overdue fines.

Some people have considered fines to be an easy way to give back to the library. While we’re not collecting fines anymore, we are happy to accept donations. Thank you for your support!