Southfield Public Library to remove fines on most items, begin auto-renewal

May 1, 2023

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Effective February 14, 2023, the Southfield Public Library will eliminate fines on most late items borrowed from the Southfield Public library. Instead, late items will be automatically renewed up to two times. All past overdue fines will be removed from library accounts. If a library user notices that a fine still appears on their account, they should ask to speak to a supervisor at the Circulation Desk.

As part of the new fine free policy, the library will no longer charge overdue fines for late items and library users will no longer be assessed a daily fine for overdue materials. Instead, items will be automatically renewed up to two times, unless the item has a hold, or it was borrowed from another library through MeLCat. An auto-renewal notice will be sent one day before an item is set to renew. The notice will contain the new due date for items that will renew. Any items that do not renew will have their original due date in the notice.

Library users are still responsible for returning materials on time. Library items will still have due dates and library users will still receive courtesy reminders to return materials to the library. An overdue notice will be sent 10 days after the initial check out period and the two automatic renewals have expired. A bill for replacement will be sent 21 days after the renewals have expired. If items are 31 days overdue, they may be sent to a collection agency. Items also must be returned in usable condition to avoid a bill for replacement. 

While traditional fines will not accumulate, the policy for lost or damaged items will still apply. When an item is returned damaged, reported lost or not returned, the library patron will be billed the purchase cost of the item. Patrons are responsible for the repair or replacement cost of a damaged item, except where such damage is determined to be the result of normal wear and tear.  

Items borrowed from other libraries through MeLCat will still accrue fines. MeLCat fines are $1 dollar a day. The lending library determines replacement costs for MeLCat materials.

The library states that its goal is to ensure everyone can enjoy all the materials the library has to offer. Fines are more punitive than supportive, and do not provide a significant amount of income to the Southfield Public Library. Overdue fines prevent some patrons – especially young patrons – from checking out items. The public library model has always been based on trust between borrowers and a valued community resource. The library believes that if their materials are returned, there is no longer a need to charge overdue fines.

If library users have any questions, they can call (248) 796-4208 or login to their library card account.